Covid-19 vaccination roll-out accelerates

Only about 12 000 Namibians have gotten the Covid-19 jab so far, with the health minister imploring residents to get vaccinated.

29 April 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Since the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination plan, Cabinet members have lined up to take the jab, with health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula being the latest this week.

President Hage Geingob, who said he would be the first to take the injection, has still not made his way to a vaccination centre yet, and neither has his second in command, Nangolo Mbuma.

Mbumba, who is 79, said he is ready to take his jab and will soon get it done.

“I have not yet taken it. Remember when the health minister announced, he said those of us over 60 are not advised to take the available vaccine, but now that we have other vaccines, I will go. I think all of us need to be vaccinated if we want our borders to be opened to tourists,” he said.

Meanwhile, defence minister Frans Kapofi said he will get his shot around June, since he was diagnosed with Covid-19 in March and was advised to wait 90 days before he gets the vaccine.

Marking the occasion

Kalumbi on Tuesday said he waited for World Immunisation Week to take his vaccination to emphasise the importance of vaccines to Namibians.

“I want to send a clear message on this global occasion to Namibians in the hope that this will convince those who are doubtful and sceptical that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and will protect you and save your life. About 800 million people in the world have already been vaccinated. Let no Namibian be left behind,” he said.

His deputy, Dr Ester Muinjangue, was the first minister get the jab at the start of the vaccination roll-out.

“Namibia is a living testimony of the benefits of mass immunisation. More than a decade ago, Namibia experienced an outbreak of poliomyelitis, which afflicted many people and claimed many lives. We mounted a nationwide immunisation campaign and vaccinated more than 2.2 million people then. As a result, we managed to ‘kick polio out of Namibia’. Some of you may still remember the slogan. We aim to repeat the same feat with Covid-19,” Shangula said.

Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe also got the Covid-19 vaccine this week.

Ministers lead the way

To date, 47 776 Namibians have been infected by Covid-19, of which 625 have lost their lives to the virus.

Shangula implored Namibians to come forward and take the vaccine as Namibia cannot afford to lose more lives.

By Tuesday afternoon, 11 971 people had been vaccinated.

Cabinet members who got the jab include ministers of finance, lands, justice and public enterprises, Iipumbu Shiimi, Calle Schlettwein, Yvonne Dausab and Leon Jooste.

Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo also got vaccinated recently.

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