In the advent of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, various countries have procured and encouraged their citizens to vaccinate against the deadly virus. Like many other African countries, Lesotho received her first batch of Covid-19 vaccines a little later than their counterparts in other continents. The first batch of the vaccines in Lesotho arrived on 3 March 2021 followed by a number of other batches.
In October 2021, the government reported that since vaccination started, the rate of infections and death have been reduced significantly. At this time around 500,000 Basotho had vaccinated against the virus. This led the government imposing stricter regulations namely the Public Health (Covid-19) (Risk Determination & Mitigation Measures) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations, 2021 pertaining to vaccinations. These Regulations are effective from 1 January 2022 and published in the Lesotho Government Gazette, Vol. 66, No. 117 dated 31 December 2021.
The government held that from 1 November 2021, people attending facilities that include entertainment, creative & cultural industries, public recreation areas or parks, gyms, nightclubs and political rallies have to issue identification cards and vaccination certificates on their entrance to prove that they have been vaccinated.
Further regulations aimed at accelerating the vaccination programme were passed on 30 December 2021. The regulations which are effective from 1 January 2022, have added to the scope, more places which can not be accessed without providing evidence that one has vaccinated. The new regulations hold that any person eligible for vaccination, will be barred from entering their workplace or acquiring any services at any work place, school or business without furnishing proof that the person has received at least one dose of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Furthermore, a person has to adduce proof that they have made a booking to receive the second dose within two months of having received the first dose. Included in the persons eligible for vaccination are children aged 12 to 17. The responsibility of ensuring vaccination of children lies with parents.
The regulations offer a possibility of exemption from vaccinating. A person eligible for vaccination may not vaccinate provided that the person produces a medical certificate from a licensed practitioner certifying that the person has a medical condition which exempts them from taking the vaccines. The certificate must specify the nature of the medical condition that exempts a person from vaccinating. The Director- general of health services may also endorse an exception from vaccination.
The regulations provide further that persons eligible for vaccination have to be in a position to provide their vaccination certificates when required by an authorised person in any institution or at any event. Where a person is unable to provide the vaccination certificate or an exemption certificate, the persons authorised to make a vaccination check at various institutions must refuse entry to the person. An authorised person is also mandated by the regulations to make a registrar of people entering any premises and should at any time be ready to furnish the register to the public health office where the officer requests for it.
The country remains under the adjusted blue level code. Click here to access the latest regulations Lesotho Covid-19 Resource Portal – Adjusted Blue Colour Code – Kleingeld & Mayet (kleingeldmayet.co.ls)
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