Only 2 300 vaccinated against Covid so far

09 April 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

After a slow start, the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines has gradually accelerated, with over 2 300 people vaccinated in just three weeks against the deadly virus.

Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe said the ministry is optimistic that more people will take the jab once the vaccination campaign extends beyond the Khomas and Erongo regions.

“This is the initial stage and we believe that we are going to gain more momentum when we roll out to the other districts. The messages are going out about the campaign and we will see an improved situation in the coming weeks,” he said.

According to him, no major side effects have been reported since vaccinations began, except for the usual sore arm or headaches.

Plan B

Namibia has waited for five months for the arrival of vaccines procured through the Covax facility - to no avail. Yesterday, Nangombe said Namibia is expected to receive the much-awaited vaccines in the next two weeks. He added that negotiations are still ongoing with international Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the country has acquired the Indian Covishield and Sinopharm vaccines from China instead.

Namibia aims to vaccinate 60% of the national population of 1.5 million people. At the moment, however, only 12% of the population can be vaccinated, around 60 000 people, with the available Covid-19 doses.

Namibia has also reached out to the manufacturers of the Johnsons & Johnsons vaccine manufactured in South Africa as part of the African Union plan.

“We have put in our order and we hope to get it as soon as it becomes available,” Nangombe said.

‘Vaccine apartheid’

President Hage Geingob has expressed disappointment with how the vaccines are being distributed, which in his view has created “vaccine apartheid”.

During a press briefing with the World Health Organisation’s director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Geingob said Namibia is one of the countries that paid early for the vaccines, yet to date, nothing has materialised and the country has had to rely on donations.

Ghebreyesus agreed that governments must strive towards vaccine equity.

“I was informed by the Covax facility that you [Namibia] will have your share in two weeks. It is in every country’s interest to make sure there is vaccine equity.”

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