Vaccine arrival delayed again
22 February 2021 | Health
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has announced that instead of the promised beginning of February, vaccine doses under the Covax facilities will now only be delivered mid or late February.
Covax is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to ensure equitable access to safe and effective vaccines.
So far, Namibia has paid N$29 million to secure vaccine doses through this facility.
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to Namibia, Zhang Yiming, yesterday said China will donate 100 000 vaccines to Namibia.
His embassy and the health ministry are currently working on the logistics and a delivery plan, he said.
Shangula added that government has launched an investigation into the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports that South Africa - which took delivery of the vaccine - has put its roll-out on hold.
“We are carrying out investigations to establish with certainty whether the new Covid-19 variant is present in Namibia and the extent of its prevalence. In the meantime, our preparations for the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out are ongoing,” the minister said.
He added that they are awaiting results from international clinical studies on the safety and effectiveness of AstraZeneca for those above 65 years old, below 18 and pregnant women.
Shangula also indicated that private medical aid schemes and some business entities are willing to complement government’s efforts to procure and distribute vaccines.
Government is also in talks with countries such as China, Russia, India and the United States of America to secure additional vaccine supplies to cover the remaining 40% of the population.
He emphasised that the choice of the vaccine takes into consideration the availability of the vaccine, cold chain imperatives and the cost, amongst other things.
“We are disturbed by misinformation and false claims against the safety and benefits of the vaccines to individuals. Countries are scrambling to obtain vaccines for their citizens and individuals in Europe and USA are competing to be vaccinated and protected against Covid-19. I call on the Namibian people not to be misled and to have faith in the government to safeguard their health.”