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MBABANE - EmaSwati may heave a sigh of relief as India has resolved to export the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May.

This means that people who have been vaccinated in the country might certainly get their second dose of the said vaccine within the recommended eight to 12 weeks from the first dose. About a month ago, it was reported that the beneficiaries of the COVAX facility, including Eswatini, would suffer a short supply of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine after India’s decision to halt the exportation of vaccines from their country after their COVID-19 daily infection rate skyrocketed. The Serum Institute of India (SII) supplies COVAX with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

COVAX is a facility formed of Gavi, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other globally recognised entities, which were formed to supply low and middle income countries with COVID-19 vaccines, protecting from unfair distribution. Eswatini is among the beneficiaries of COVAX and already, the country has benefitted 12 000 Oxford AstraZeneca doses from the facility. The 12 000 vaccines were added on to the 20 000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the Indian Government, totalling the number of secured doses in the country to 32 000.


Currently, over 34 897 emaSwati have been vaccinated with the first jab of the said vaccine candidate and they are expecting to receive their second jab from May 26. According to reports from international media houses including Reuters, The Daily Star and US News, problems that have delayed the Oxford AstraZeneca supplies to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility have since been resolved. The reports revealed that India would export about 65 million vaccines by the end of May. “The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been disrupted by supply shortfalls in many countries, aggravated by a temporary hold on exports of the inoculation made by the Serum Institute of India (SII) as the country battles to contain a surge in infections.

“COVAX is also holding talks with New Delhi for SII to resume supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” read the reports. When sought for comment, World Health Organisation (WHO) Health Promotion Officer Dr Kevin Makadzange said he was not aware of the new resolutions that India made. “We might be briefed about this on our talking points for meeting,” said Makadzange. In the meantime, Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula said according to their plans, nothing had changed as they were still expecting a consignment of vaccines from COVAX in May so emaSwati could get their second dose.

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