Namibia: Shangula Warns About Vaccine Misinformation... Pleads With Citizens to Get Vaccinated

A Covid-19 vaccine dose.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has cautioned Namibians who spread false and unsubstantiated information about vaccines and other aspects of the Covid-19 interventions.

Shangula was speaking during the launch of the private sector roadblock Covid-19 testing initiative in Windhoek yesterday.

He added that Namibia cannot ill-afford a situation where the health system becomes overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients; hence, people need to get vaccinated as soon as possible. "It is critical and urgent for more people to get vaccinated so that the country can reach herd immunity to prevent new infections and reduce the severity of illness for those who get infected. As the vaccination programme gathers steam, I urge Namibians to present themselves to the vaccination points and to get vaccinated," he pleaded.

According to the ministry's daily Covid-19 update, only 37 819 Namibians had their first jab, while only 2 301 had their second jab as of 9 May. Vaccinations are available in all 35 health districts in Namibia.

The country commenced its vaccination programme on 19 March.

He further assured that government will not do anything to harm its people.

"The interventions that we put in place are aimed at protecting our people and bringing the country back to normalcy. It is, therefore, regrettable that some of our people have chosen to abuse the media, especially some radio stations, to sabotage and undermine legitimate government efforts to protect our people. These irresponsible actions must cease forthwith," he strongly narrated.

The concerned minister further explained that if people do not heed the call, there will be more pressure on the available facilities and other resources.

He added government has invested a significant amount of resources in the national Covid-19 response and preparedness. "However, for the response to succeed, our people must comply with the public health measures to protect themselves, their families and the communities they live in," he said. Shangula said the number of patients admitted to hospital isolation wards and isolation intensive-care units (ICUs) continues to escalate, although the national isolation bed and isolation high care-ICU bed occupancy rate is 33% and 38%, respectively.

The isolation high care bed occupancy rate in the Khomas region alone is 85% and the situation in the private sector is even more disconcerting, with national isolation bed and isolation high care-ICU bed occupancy rates being 76% and 83%, respectively.

The minister said although the measures government put in place have enabled people to avert the worst-case scenario in terms of the initial projections, the Covid-19 situation remains critical. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases continues to increase and has reached 50 000 confirmed cases. "The increasing number of cases calls for greater vigilance on the part of all Namibians. I draw the attention of the Namibian people to the fact that we have also witnessed a steep increase in the number of hospitalisation of persons suffering from severe Covid-19 complications. Many of these persons require intensive care treatment and this has placed additional pressure on the available ICU beds and the personnel to take care of the patients. It is, therefore, important that we all should do our part to suppress the further spread of Covid-19 in our country. Let us all protect ourselves, our families and our communities from new infections," urged Shangula.

Meanwhile, the minister commended the Tourism and Safari Association (TASA) and the pathology service providers for the timely initiative, saying it will strengthen the response and ensure tourists to Namibia can promptly access Covid-19 testing services.

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