Geingob’s vaccination status is unimportant – Hengari

22 June 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES AND OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

Presidential advisor Alfredo Hengari says questions over when President Hage Geingob is expected to get vaccinated for Covid-19, and which vaccine he ultimately chooses, are unimportant.

“In light of the emergency we are facing, these questions about the president and which vaccine are unimportant,” Hengari said when asked about the president’s choice of vaccine.

Geingob had in February said he would be willing to be first in line to receive his Covid-19 jab in an attempt to quell any concerns regarding the vaccines.

“I will be willing, in public, to be the first one, but I hope nobody is going to say 'oh, elites have lined up and left the people dying in the streets',” Geingob said.

His counterparts, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa, have already been vaccinated, while Namibia’s founding president Sam Nujoma has gotten the jab as well.

Geingob and First Lady Monica Geingos recently tested positive for Covid-19. Both are now in the clear.

Not anti-vax

Meanwhile, Geingos last week said she intends to get vaccinated soon and denied that they are opposed to getting vaccinated.

“Neither of us have an anti-vax philosophy. We wanted to get vaccinated.”

She admitted that “in hindsight, I should have been vaccinated earlier”.

Namibians are now questioning the efficacy of the existing vaccines after health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said they are not suitable for the president.

The Astra Zeneca vaccine is advised for the elderly, which is the category 79-year-old Geingob falls under.

Political analyst Ndumbah Kamwanyah felt it was important for the first couple to be vaccinated to dispel any concerns.

“They should address the issue to stop all these conspiracy theories as to why he did not take the jab. One thing is clear: Silence from his side is creating room for those who don't believe in the vaccine to boost their case,” he said.

He added that, as it stands, “the official messaging about the vaccine seems not to be winning, especially about the need for people to take the vaccine”.

“A lot of people, for whatever reason, are not heeding the call to get jabbed,” Kamwanyah added.

A total of 104 199 first doses of the Sinopharm and Astra Zeneca vaccines have been administered as at 20 June, while second doses of both vaccines currently administered stand at 19 865.

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