I’m a Covid-19 survivor: Mosisili
…former prime minister urges nation to accept AstraZeneca vaccine
FORMER Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had to be quarantined for two weeks after being struck down by the deadly Covid-19 virus early this year.
Fortunately for the former Democratic Congress (DC) leader, he remained asymptomatic throughout and his condition did not deteriorate into any life-threatening illness as has been the case with some of the patients who have been infected by the virus.
Mr Mosisili revealed his battle with Covid-19 at a weekend ceremony at the Makoanyane Military Hospital to vaccinate former senior government officials and foreign diplomats based in Lesotho.
Others who were vaccinated included former deputy prime ministers, Lesao Lehohla, Kelebone Maope and Mothetjoa Metsing. They all served in different governments headed by Mr Mosisili from 2002 to 2017.
Some of the diplomats who were vaccinated included European Union (EU) Ambassador to Lesotho Christian Manahl; World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Richard Banda and UNICEF Country Representative Anurita Bains.
Speaking after being jabbed, Mr Mosisili commended the government for rolling out the programme to vaccinate the nation. He also said he had tested positive to the virus on 31 December 2020 and had to be quarantined for the next two weeks.
“I tested positive on the last day of December,” Mr Mosisili said.
“Fortunately, I did not suffer any severe symptoms. Although I was not sick, I had to be quarantined for the first two weeks of January to recover from that monster,” he added.
The vaccination programme is in line with the government’s quest to vaccinate the nation against the deadly pandemic which had infected 10535 people and caused 309 deaths by yesterday.
His Majesty King Letsie III and Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro were among the government leaders who were vaccinated when the vaccination programme was rolled out on Lesotho launched its Covid-19 vaccination programme in Morija on 10 March 2021.
The programme was launched after the government received a consignment of 36 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The delivery was despite reports in neighbouring South Africa that the AstraZeneca vaccine had been found to be ineffective against the South African strain of the virus known as B.1.351 or 501.V2.
Health Minister Semano Sekatle has said the country will continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine to fight Covid-19 because research has proved that it remains effective against severe symptoms of Covid-19.
Mr Sekatle also said there was no evidence that it has dangerous side effects as alleged by some European countries.
He has now received the support of Mr Mosisili. Over the weekend, the former premier said Basotho should accept the vaccine and not be swayed by South Africa and other countries’ rejection of it.
“This vaccine is meant to save lives. Life is a precious gift and I call upon my fellow Basotho not to play with such a serious issue especially when the government has worked very hard to source the vaccine for the nation.
“I have heard some people talk about how South Africa has suspended the vaccine. We are not South Africans, if they suspended it or rejected it, it is because of their own reasons.
“We are not South Africans, we are Lesotho. We are a sovereign country and not an appendage of South Africa.
“His Majesty King Letsie III, Her Majesty Queen Masenate Seeiso and Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro spearheaded the rollout and showed us that it is important to use this vaccine,” Mr Mosisili said.
Ambassador Manahl who was also vaccinated, expressed his support for the vaccine despite several European countries suspending it last week over fears that it produced potentially fatal blood clots in some patients.
Speaking on behalf of all diplomats based in Lesotho, Dr Manahl said despite its suspension in some European countries, “evidence obtained worldwide, including confirmation by the WHO and European Medicines Agency (EMA), shows that AstraZeneca is effective in preventing serious illness and the need for hospitalisation in case of infection with Covid-19, as well as reducing the risk of death.
“The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks. Vaccination is voluntary but I plead with Basotho to take their decisions responsibly and to consider that only collective action will contain the virus allowing the country to eventually overcome the pandemic. I caution Basotho not to drop their guard and to continue observing Covid-19 prevention protocols, such as wearing a mask, regular handwashing and practicing social distancing, and the lockdown restrictions as advised by the government,” Dr Manahl said.