Namibia: Vaccine Drive Kicks Into High Gear

Government's rollout of the 250 000 Sinopharm doses got off to a smooth start yesterday morning as people streamed to the various vaccine centres to get inoculated against the virulent Covid-19.

In Windhoek, both public and private facilities are being used as vaccination centres, including the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital, Rhino Park Private Hospital, Hosiana Parish Church Hall, NG Kerk (Eros) Church Hall and the Windhoek Central Hospital.

A drive through facility at the Windhoek Showgrounds, which will open today from 10h00 to 18h00, has also been organised by Gondwana Collection Namibia. Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday said he was impressed by the professionalism of the health workers and the calmness and patience of the public at the reopened vaccination centres around Windhoek.

Lines moved relatively fast and people from different age groups could be observed at the different vaccine centres yesterday.

The minister visited four of the vaccination

sites around Windhoek after the country resumed vaccination campaign countrywide yesterday morning.

"At all the sites I visited, there are long queues of people waiting patiently to be vaccinated. I was impressed. We aim to vaccinate 750 520 people by the end of September 2021. Please help us to achieve that target.

We shall increase the number of vaccination points in order to reduce the long wait for vaccination," said Shangula.

By 18 July 2021, 136 194 people received their first doses while 34 789 had received their second doses.

Shangula added that over the past weeks, the ministry observed the stabilisation of new infections after Namibia was hit hard by the third wave of infections that dramatically increased positive cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

Between the end of May and yesterday, 2 532 people died from Covid-19 in Namibia. "We do not foresee the increase in the number of new infections beyond what we have experienced so far. We anticipate a gradual decline in both the number of new infections and deaths. We thank the public who contributed to this observed trend by complying with public health measures," he added. The minister further stated that the disruption of the transmission chain through limiting interpersonal interactions and the vaccination campaign are starting to show dividends.

"These should serve as incentives and encouragement for us to forge ahead," he said. After getting vaccinated at the Rhino Park Private Hospital, Windhoek resident Isack Hamata urged Namibians to get inoculated.

"It is for a good cause. It is for us to achieve herd immunity so that we can all get to a point where this country is free of Covid-19, we minimise the deaths, we minimise sickness and we minimise the pressure on our medical facilities so that we can go back to a normal economic life," he said.

Another Windhoek resident, Anthony Muteya indicated that he chose the Sinopharm vaccine over others simply because it was readily available. "As you have seen the evidence is there without vaccination, people are dying and every day and night we are missing people who are dying, so it is wise for everyone to get vaccinated," he said. Muteya also encouraged everyone to get inoculated against Covid-19, adding it is worthwhile protecting one another.

More doses

Namibia's vaccination programme largely stalled as the 197 000 doses of Sinopharm and AstraZeneca ran out and delivery of vaccinations was delayed. Government received 250 000 doses of Sinopharm on Friday and immediately started with distribution to vaccine centres across the country.

The country is also expecting delivery of 40 800 AstraZeneca doses this week. Over 300 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be delivered in a staggered fashion between August and December, while 168 000 Johnson & Johnson doses donated by the US government are expected anytime between this month and September.

Yesterday, the ministry of health announced 664 new Covid-19 confirmed cases from 2 172 results in the last 24 hours.

The youngest is six months and the oldest is 101 years. Shangula added of all the confirmed cases, 44 representing (7%) are reported to have received a dose of Covid-19 vaccine, of which 12 are fully vaccinated.

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