Shangula pours cold water over Covishield fears
“It is a warning sign, though, that even places that had smaller waves in 2020 are at risk of larger, much worse waves in 2021… Namibia cannot afford to experience what is happening in India right now,” Dziuban said.
05 May 2021 | Health
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has allayed fears that the Covishield vaccine from India may not be as effective given the devastating Covid-19 wave that country is currently going through.
According to him, the situation in India has nothing to do with the vaccination process but rather religious gatherings taking place that have exposed many people to the virus.
India has over the last few weeks recorded more than 400 000 positive cases as well as more than 3 000 deaths on a single day on 30 April.
Yesterday, the BBC reported that India has recorded more than 20 million Covid infections amid severe oxygen shortages.
“India's second wave, fuelled by lax safety protocols and massive public festivals and election rallies, has also overwhelmed its hospitals. Delays in testing, diagnosis and treatment, as well as a shortage of critical care beds and crucial drugs, has resulted in a spike in deaths too.”
Meanwhile, Kalumbi emphasised that many Indian nationals have not been vaccinated, despite Covishield being manufactured in that country.
“The vaccines of India are being used in the whole world and are quite effective. Namibians should not link the situation there to the efficacy of the vaccines,” he said.
The outgoing Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Namibia country director, Dr Eric Dziuban, echoed Shangula’s sentiments, adding that India is still very early in its vaccine roll-out process.
“I don't think people should connect too much of the situation in India right now to the effectiveness of the vaccine manufactured there. India has a huge population. Most of the infected people there are not vaccinated yet.
“It is a warning sign, though, that even places that had smaller waves in 2020 are at risk of larger, much worse waves in 2021. This is why we must stay vigilant with masks and distancing while also trying to get vaccines to as many Namibians as possible. Namibia cannot afford to experience what is happening in India right now,” he said.