Sunday, January 29, 2023

Botswana misses WHO key COVID-19 vaccination goal

Botswana has missed the World Health Organisation (WHO) mid-year target of fully vaccinating 70% of its population.

Only two African countries (Mauritius and Seychelles) have fully vaccinated 70% of their total population. Rwanda was expected to achieve this target by the end of June based on the pace of its uptake, bringing to three, the number of countries in Africa reaching the 70% global target by the end of June.

Rwanda has however also failed to meet the target and has 64% of its population fully vaccinated while Botswana has fully vaccinated 63% of its population.  Rwanda has the third highest vaccination rate in the continent, followed by Botswana.

Botswana is unlikely to meet the 70% target before the end of the year. According to the Reuters Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, “during the last week reported, Botswana averaged about 197 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a further 2,339 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population.”  Rwanda is also unlikely to meet the WHO 70 % vaccination rate by the end of the year. According to the Reuters Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, “during the last week reported, Rwanda averaged about 7,495 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a further 337 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population.

This is the first time that Botswana has missed a WHO Covid-19 vaccination target. Early December 2021 Botswana became one of only six African countries to achieve the WHO year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of their people.

The other five African countries that met the goal that was set in May 2021 by the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy-setting body are Seychelles, Mauritius, Morocco, Tunisia and Cabo Verde

Botswana which was the only mainland sub-Saharan African nation to reach the target was a surprise entry in the limited list of African countries. According to forecasts made end of October, only five African countries, less than 10% of Africa’s 54 nations, were projected to hit the year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of their people.

Botswana’s failure to meet the WHO 70% vaccination target is an anti-climax as projections by Reuters Covid-19 Tracker, indicated that the country was likely to have surpassed Cabo Verde and Tunisia by the end of 2021. Botswana then was recording the fastest vaccination rate among all six African countries which had reached the World Health Assembly 40% target.

According to the December 2021 Reuters Covid-19 Tracker, it was projected that it would take Botswana only ten days to vaccinate the next ten percent of the population; Tunisia 58 days to vaccinate the next 10% of its population; Cape Verde 152 days to vaccinate the next 10% of its population; Morocco 174 days to vaccinate the next 10% of its population;

Mauritius 30 days to vaccinate the next 10% of its population and Seychelles 64 days to vaccinate the next 10% of its population.

Botswana’s vaccination has however slowed down. At the current speed, Reuters Covid-19 Tracker has projected that it will take Botswana close to 9 months to vaccinate the next 10% of its population.

South Africa and Zimbabwe which are second and third after Botswana in Southern Africa have still not reached the 40% target which was set for December last year. As at end of June 2022, South Africa had fully vaccinated 32% of its population while Zimbabwe had vaccinated only 31% of its population.

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