Minister of Health,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,
All protocols observed.
I am delighted to announce the delivery of 302,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that arrived to Eswatini today, July 27. This is enough doses to fully vaccinate nearly half of all adults in Eswatini from COVID-19.
Today we are also pleased to announce an E28.7 million (US $2.125 million) in vaccine rollout assistance, including vaccine systems, service delivery, communications, and more.
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.
We know that the Ministry of Health has been poised to purchase and receive vaccinations for weeks, and that the global availability of vaccines has been extremely limited. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry to protect and improve the health of Emaswati—especially in this moment of crisis when COVID-19 cases are ticking up, and global vaccine supplies are tight.
We are partners in public health, not only in our response to COVID-19, but through our longstanding PEPFAR program, which has led to a dramatic improvement in the life expectancy of Emaswati over the past 16 years, and proven to be a hugely successful public health partnership. 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.
The United States is also committed to leading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating global vaccine distribution as the world’s largest single country donor to COVAX. All countries, regardless of income status, need vaccines that meet rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness.
This donation is part of the more than 80 million doses that President Biden announced on May 17, and is the result of the close collaboration between the United States, Eswatini, and our other international partners towards putting an end to this pandemic. Sharing these vaccines also serves as another example of the strength of our partnership and commitment to the people of Eswatini.
I encourage all those who will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine to do so. The vaccine is the product of rigorous testing and has facilitated a return to normal life in the United States. Without these vaccines, our economy and lives would remain constrained and limited by restrictive public health measures we have in place for our collective safety and health.
The United States is committed to fighting the pandemic worldwide. We are providing this vaccine with the singular objective of saving lives. The United States has already funded a large part of the COVAX Facility with an investment of $2 billion. 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.