Namibia: I Am Not Here for Vaccines - Shaningwa

(File photo).
21 September 2021

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday refused to entertain questions from the media, missing an opportunity to buttress government's efforts on the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which remains a pressing national issue.

During a media briefing, on the party's political bureau decisions, held in Windhoek yesterday, journalists wanted to find out the party's position regarding the vaccine campaign to help the country reach herd immunity.

"I am not here for vaccines," said Shaningwa bluntly.

She also refused to answer several questions posed by journalists.

Government has urged Namibians to get vaccinated to fully open the country for businesses and institutions but said no one will be forced to vaccinate.

Vaccine hesitancy, fueled by conspiracy theories and misinformation, is hampering government's efforts to get Namibia out of the economic hardship that the pandemic has brought about.

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula, during the Covid-19 daily update of 19 September 2021, said a total of 243 807 people have received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccines, while 155 427 had received two doses.

The vaccination campaign started on 19 March 2021.

President Hage Geingob last week also urged Namibians to get vaccinated to combat the virus.

"I implore all eligible Namibians to come forward and get vaccinated. Vaccination remains one of the effective measures in our national response to avert serious illness and death from Covid-19," he said.

"The vaccination campaign is making encouraging progress. The most vulnerable segments, such as the elderly and persons with co-morbidities, have been vaccinated to a greater extent. However, uptake by Health Care Workers remains lower in comparison, with only 14.5% fully vaccinated," said the president during last week's Covid-19 briefing at State House.

"We recorded an average vaccine uptake rate of 3 556 doses per day. National vaccination coverage currently stands at 15.1% of the population for those who have received their first dose, while 9% of the population are fully vaccinated. This is a long shot from the requisite 60% total population coverage target to achieve herd immunity by March 2022."

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