US vaccine producer, Moderna, has confirmed a bilateral deal to supply Botswana with COVID-19 vaccines.
Although the Massachusetts headquartered company did not provide details of the number of doses, local Presidential Task Team officially previously said the supply would be enough to cover 250,000 people.
The supply deal is believed to be one of the first Moderna has clinched with an African country as most of its distribution has been for the US market.
“We appreciate the collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Botswana for this supply agreement and with the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority for this EUA,” Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer said in a statement.
“We are committed to ensuring that people on every continent have access to our mRNA vaccine so that we can defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Moderna officials could not be reached for more details on the numbers provided. They had also not responded to
The Moderna deal is a scoop for government as the US company’s vaccine is among the most-praised in the world, with a reported 94% ability to prevent symptomatic COVID after the second dose.
Task Team officials had previously said government had secured enough doses to vaccinate 1.9 million Batswana, all through bilateral arrangements. The population aged 18 and over and thus eligible for COVID-19 vaccines is measured at 1.6 million.
Botswana has also paid a deposit to secure more than 100,000 doses from the World Health Organisation’s COVAX arrangement. Earlier today, another 19,890 Pfizer vaccines arrived in the country through the COVAX facility.
Other arrangements have been made with Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik and Sinovac.
As at 28 May, government had vaccinated 142,864 people, one of the highest rates on the continent.