Namibians would rather pray than be vaccinated

03 June 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

Almost all Namibians are worried about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their households and the future of their children, the latest Afrobarometer report shows.

However, at the same time, two-thirds of Namibians are worried about the safety of Covid-19 vaccinations and would rather rely on prayer than taking the jab for protection.

“Half of Namibians say they are unlikely to try to get vaccinated even if the government says the vaccine is safe. More than three out of four citizens report that they are worried that companies that make Covid-19 vaccines will try to test them on ordinary Namibians, even if they have not been proven to be safe. Close to two-thirds (63%) of Namibians believe that prayer is more effective than vaccine would be in preventing Covid-19 infection,” the report said.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula this week told spiritual and church leaders that it is their duty to dispel doubts about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, particularly on social media.

Shangula addressed leaders at a consultative meeting on the vaccines.

“I urge all community leaders - spiritual leaders as well as elected and traditional leaders - to spread the correct messages about the vaccination campaign as have been established through proper medical and scientific procedures which the health ministry strictly follows. As we continue to state, our national Covid-19 preparedness and response is informed by science and we will never do anything to cause harm to the Namibian people,” he said.

Sing from same book

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses said the opinions and examples of religious leaders carry a lot weight.

He added that the pandemic affects everyone so the religious community and government must sing from the same song book in order to address disinformation and misinformation with relevant scientific information.

“We need the support of the religious community to partner with government to help promote the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine as a life-saving measure for oneself and loved ones.

“In addition, I would like to call upon the church and other religious groups to help implement the basic preventive public health measures that can make a difference to our health system and society as a whole.”

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