Namibia forges ahead with AstraZeneca, despite halt in SA
Recent scientific trials have found that the AstraZeneca vaccine offered "minimal protection" against mild and moderate cases. But experts are hopeful that it will still be effective at preventing severe cases, BBC reported yesterday.
09 February 2021 | Health
Namibia will continue with plans to acquire Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca, which has been halted in parts of the world, including neighbouring South Africa, over "disappointing" results against the new coronavirus variant.
“Yes, we are proceeding,” health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said yesterday, when asked whether Namibia would go ahead with procuring the vaccine in light of the new, unflattering results.
“When new data becomes available, everybody will be vaccinated,” he added.
Recent scientific trials found that the vaccine offered "minimal protection" against mild and moderate cases. But experts are hopeful that it will still be effective at preventing severe cases, the BBC reported yesterday.
South African health minister Zweli Mkhize yesterday said his government would wait for further advice on how best to proceed with the AstraZeneca vaccine in light of the findings.
Namibia’s biggest anticipated vaccine supply is through the Covax facility, for which N$29 million has already been paid.
SA’s expiring vaccine stock
Shangula yesterday defended government’s position to proceed with procuring AstraZeneca, despite new doubts about the vaccine.
“[AstraZeneca] was studied in a population from 18 years [old]. Among the people older than 65, there [are] only 660, which is not considered big enough to be relied upon. Studies among the 65+ years, under 18 and pregnant women are currently being carried out…” the minister said.
Meanwhile, a storm is brewing in South Africa after it was revealed that the vaccines that country received last week will expire in April.
Commenting on whether Namibia faced the same situation, Shangula said: “We have not received any vaccine yet. We can therefore not face the situation like South Africa”.