Deputy coordinator of COVID-19 Presidential Task team Professor Mosepele Mosepele says Botswana should have explored the possibilities of manufacturing covid vaccines locally.
Mosepele said this during the Task force ‘s regular Thursday update noting that the country ‘s capacity and successful history of manufacturing cattle vaccine through Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) could have been leveraged on.
“One of the things we could have done is come up with a plan to manufacture the vaccines, this is an investment we should have made and we still have to do it going forward” he said.
Mosepele explained that if not making the vaccine locally, Botswana should have invested in research and development as well as production of the COVID vaccine by global companies for preferential treatment when purchasing.
On 15 July 2021 Leader of Opposition and Umbrella for Democratic Change(UDC) Vice President Dumelang Saleshando reiterated his 2020 words on Botswana’ s capability in making COVID19 vaccine.
Saleshando was making a statement in parliament, responding to President Masisi ‘s early July national address.
The Leader of Opposition said Botswana needs to urgently undertake to explore the manufacture of vaccines.
” Viruses such as Covid 19 will forever remain part of our reality and pose threats to human beings.” he said. The Maun West Member of Parliament posed a rhetoric question “If Botswana can successfully operate Botswana Vaccine Institute that manufactures and exports cattle vaccines to other countries, why should Botswana not position itself as the main SADC manufacturer of vaccines such as the ones used for Covid?”
The BCP President challenged Botswana ‘s celebrated relations with wealthy economies,” What is the value of our exceptionally cordial relations with more developed countries if we cannot leverage on their experience and technology to manufacture critical vaccines and drugs for Africa”.
Botswana Vaccine Institute was established in 1978, the company has tremendously grown to a regional and global player inthe cattle vaccine space.
Today two thirds of all vaccines produced at BVI are exported annually to over 15 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Many of these countries use BVI have been using BVI vaccines for their National annual disease control programs for decades.