A total of 24 000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine procured through the Covax scheme by the Namibian government are expected to arrive in the country today. The health ministry yesterday announced the doses will be delivered at the Hosea Kutako International Airport this morning.
The arrival of the doses will further boost Namibia's fight against Covid-19, which has seen nearly 600 deaths due to the pandemic. So far, the country has received a combined 130 000 doses donated by the Chinese and Indian governments. In his State of the Nation address yesterday, President Hage Geingob urged Namibians to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
"There is no coercion, there is no force, it is voluntary. But for your good, I urge you to get vaccinated. Why should we beg you for your own safety?" he stated. The President said he is mindful the past 13 months have not been easy, adding life and work have been upended and thrown into a state of flux, with many families plunged into financial vulnerability and distress. He said the government has remained transparent with its plans from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The measures put in place and our appeal to Namibians to adhere to these regulations were done in the interest of all Namibians. I am pleased to report that most Namibians have adjusted their behaviour accordingly and have reacted maturely by respecting the rule of law during this period."
To this end, he stressed government's collective actions to reduce the threat of Covid-19 have staved off a health crisis in Namibia. This, Geingob said, is enabling Namibia to avoid a third wave as witnessed in other parts of the world. "That is why we have allocated resources to strengthen the public health sector in the 2021/22 national budget. An allocation of N$8.08 billion has been made to the ministry of health. Of this amount, N$484 million will go towards the procurement of vaccines."
However, Geingob is concerned about the increasing rate of infections since December 2020 among learners at 40%. The infection rate among teachers stands at 6% and 4% amongst healthcare workers. In this regard, he promised the ministers of health and education will continue working together, involving the communities to seek solutions to effectively safeguard the health and ensure the provision of education for the Namibian child.
Since phase one of vaccination started on 16 March 2021 in the Khomas and Erongo regions, over 3 500 vaccine doses have been administered to frontline workers in Namibia.