Today, United States Ambassador to Lesotho Maria E. Brewer and United States Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer Carol Spahn announced that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide a surge of resources to Lesotho through the Initiative for Global Vaccine Access, or Global VAX, a U.S. Government effort to turn COVID vaccines into vaccinations in arms. At an event held at the Seventh Day Adventist Health Center in Maseru, Ambassador Brewer announced that, as part of the Global VAX effort, USAID intends to program an additional $6.2 million in Lesotho and CDC an additional $1.3 million.
Ambassador Brewer said, “Through the leadership of the Government of Lesotho and the commitment and support of the United States Government, it is within Lesotho’s reach to put an end to the death and sickness brought by this pandemic, and with that, to renew the nation’s focus on building a brighter future.”
Peace Corps CEO Spahn, who is visiting Lesotho to highlight the U.S. Government-wide engagement with Global VAX, added, “As we emerge from the Omicron variant that affected every country around the globe, we are reminded that none of us is safe until we are all safe. We have a collective responsibility to counter misinformation and dispel vaccine myths, get vaccinated, and ensure the world does too. The Peace Corps is proud to partner with our U.S. Government partners, the Government of Lesotho, and the citizens of Lesotho to turn vaccines in vials into shots in arms.”
Global VAX is a United States Government-wide effort to contribute to the global goal to vaccinate 70 percent of the world population against COVID-19 in 2022. It will surge support and resources to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines in an initial group of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Lesotho.
Please find attached a Fact Sheet with additional details. For more information, please contact the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Maseru at InfoMaseru@state.gov.
Initiative for Global Vaccine Access
Global VAX is a United States Government-wide effort to turn COVID-19 vaccines in vials into vaccinations in arms. The initiative will help meet the global goal to vaccinate 70 percent of the world population against COVID-19 in 2022. It will surge support and resources to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines in an initial group of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Lesotho.
Global VAX builds on President Biden’s commitment to donate more than 1.2 billion vaccine doses around the world by the end of 2022 and it intensifies efforts to get shots in arms. Specifically, Global VAX will increase assistance and strengthen international coordination to identify and rapidly overcome vaccine access barriers. To date, the United States has already committed $1.7 billion to support vaccine readiness work.
This initiative will provide a surge of resources to Lesotho. As part of this effort, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) plans to program an additional $6.2 million in Lesotho in addition to the more than $12.4 million that USAID has already allocated for the pandemic response in Lesotho. Separately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will contribute another $1.3 million to a base of $6 million it has already invested since the start of the pandemic.
Other U.S. agencies in Lesotho, including the U.S. Peace Corps and U.S. Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury, will bring technical, programmatic, and diplomatic support to ensure that the plans of the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to combat COVID-19 are successful.
This funding will support activities such as bolstering cold chain supply and logistics, addressing vaccine confidence and demand, and increasing the accessibility of vaccination sites. The funding will also support monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine adverse events and will align with Lesotho’s existing vaccination plans and help to get vaccines to people quickly and equitably.
Lesotho has made great strides to scale up its vaccination campaign in record time through the excellent leadership of the Ministry of Health, working together with the Ministry of Education to extend COVID-19 vaccination to adolescents aged 12 to 17. As of March 9, 2022, 806,035 people have been fully vaccinated in Lesotho, representing 40.3 percent of the total population. This percentage is even higher when we look at the total eligible population (12 years and older).
Any additional resources from Global VAX will be invested strategically to align with Lesotho’s ongoing efforts and help accelerate the national COVID-19 vaccination plan.