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Private companies pledge enough for COVID-19 vaccine




Maseru, March 31 — Vodacom Lesotho has pledged $1 million (M15 Million) to the private companies’ fund to buy COVID-19 vaccine.

Vodacom joined other companies which had responded positively to the government of Lesotho earnest plea for financial assistance for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.

This was revealed at the ceremony held at the Ministry of Health Auditorium on Wednesday where VCL Board Chairperson, Mr. Leboela Lebete officiated.

Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro accepted the gift and thanked the company for the good gesture, saying that the vaccine will provide vaccines for about 66,000 Basotho.

He was however quick to warn that getting the doses was not going to be easy as the countries such as US, United Kingdom (UK), Russia, China and other vaccine producers would first ensure that their citizens are inoculated before sending the vaccine to other countries.

”World leaders are currently at war in a bid to get the doses for their nationals first in what others dub as vaccine injustice,” he stated.

The Prime Minister therefore appealed to Basotho who are yet to access doses to be patient, saying they could wait until December this year to get the vaccines.

He said Lesotho obtained a $20 million shot in the arm from World Bank towards procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.

He disclosed that the total pledged amount from private companies and World Bank was enough to purchase enough doses for Basotho.

Dr. Majoro said UNICEF and the African Union (AU) are trying all they could to ensure that Africa also have access to the COVID-19 doses.

The Prime Minister said while Lesotho needs 1.6 million doses, Africa as a whole needs around 700 million doses while the entire world needs around 4 billion.

When presenting the cheque, Mr. Lebete said since King Letsie III, Prime Minister as well as cabinet ministers and other political party leaders were already inoculated, the VCL was now directly sponsoring ordinary Basotho to also access the much needed doses.

The VCL Chairperson of the board said the roll out of the doses will solely be entrusted to the Ministry of Health, adding that the VCL staff should not be given priority over the nation.

He also conceded that VCL accepts the Astrazenecz vaccine saying it has been given a go ahead by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Lesotho.

Sesiu sa Lets’oele le Beta Poho, a unified private sector non-profit organization fund for COVID-19 Chairperson, Mr. Sam Matekane had previously pledged a total of M25,551,000 towards procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for all Basotho donated by about 11 companies in the country.

The 11 companies include Alliance Insurance, Standard Lesotho Bank, Letšeng Diamonds, Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG), Specialized Insurance Company, LSP Construction, Pick N Pay Lesotho, Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions, Nedbank Lesotho, Econet Telecom Lesotho and NB Holdings.

Prime Minister, Dr. Majoro had requested the private companies in the country to assist the government of Lesotho for financial assistance in accessing the doses as part of fighting the spread of COVID-19.



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