Minister of Health
Members of the Media,
All Protocols Observed,
I am delighted to announce the U.S. donation of more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine which arrived in Eswatini yesterday evening. This adds to the over 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine the U.S. contributed in July.
These donations are part of the U. S. Government’s global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. is pleased to work closely with the Ministry of Health and partners to help distribute and administer the vaccine nationwide. The United States is proud to be the largest single donor to COVAX, and we are proud to be one of the largest donors to Eswatini’s COVID-19 response. This assistance already has helped save lives in Eswatini – and will continue to do so.
This donation is part of the more than 171 million doses the U.S. has provided to over 100 countries, including 100 million doses from our own domestic supply. These donations will supercharge the global fight against the pandemic.
This is the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country and a commitment by the American people to help protect people around the world from COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for those aged 12 and over, which increases the eligible population for vaccine by 14 percent in Eswatini. This vaccine is the product of rigorous testing and has been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents.
I am especially happy that this donation opens vaccine delivery to younger people, which is a game changer. This allows learners to go to school with an added layer of protection. And it not only protects them, but it protects their parents, grandparents, extended family, teachers, and friends.
The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective – and they are free. In the United States, research has shown that people who are unvaccinated are 5 times more likely to get COVID-19, 10 times more likely to require hospitalization from it, and 11 times more likely to lose their life to COVID-19.
If you are uncertain about taking the vaccine, please don’t rely on misinformation or rumors. Ask a medical professional or consult the Health Alert App for accurate information. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to protect yourself or your child.
We know that the Ministry of Health has been working tirelessly to fight this pandemic in Eswatini; we are proud to work together to protect and improve the health of Emaswati. In fact, almost all U.S. bilateral assistance to Eswatini is in health, not only in our response to COVID-19, but also in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which has had such a devastating impact on Eswatini over the years.
Some may be too young to remember the toll of HIV/AIDS on Eswatini. In 1999, when King Mswati III declared HIV/AIDS to be a national disaster, thousands had been lost to the epidemic, almost a quarter of all children in the country had been orphaned or were vulnerable due to AIDS-related illness, and business owners feared foreign investment losses due to decreased productivity and sick workers’ absenteeism.
Over the past 16 years, assistance provided through the United States government’s President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, has led to a dramatic improvement in the life expectancy of Emaswati. We are proud that Eswatini holds the prestigious position of being one of only two countries that were announced by UNAIDS to have reached the UNAIDS goal of 95-95-95 (95 percent of people with HIV identified, 95 percent of people with HIV on treatment, and 95 percent of people on treatment virally suppressed). And we are proud to have been Eswatini’s partner along the way to this important milestone.
Again, I encourage all to take advantage of the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and consent to your children being vaccinated. It is critical that we all do our part and get vaccinated in order to reduce the potential impact of the 4th wave.
The United States is committed to fighting the pandemic worldwide. We are providing this vaccine with the singular objective of saving lives. We firmly believe that only together can we defeat COVID-19 and we will continue to do all we can to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease.