Over 300 000 Covid-19 vaccine doses donated by the US and German governments respectively arrived in the country at the weekend. The donation include 201 600 doses of AstraZeneca from Germany and 100 620 Pfizer vaccine doses from the US, much to the delight of the Namibian authorities.
"We need to vaccinate 1.5 million by March next year to attain the required herd immunity," said health minister Dr Shangula Kalumbi after taking delivery of the AstraZeneca donation.
Shangula also said the donation by the US complements other vaccine doses procured by government such as Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. "The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine was the first inoculation to receive Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2020.
It is administered in two doses, three weeks apart," said Shangula. He stated studies have shown that at two doses, the Pfizer vaccine shows 95% efficacy at preventing symptoms that are consistent with Covid-19 infection. The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for persons who are 12 years and older. However, Shangula, urged caution as the doses require special care when it comes to storage.
"The Pfizer vaccines will be made available at the established Covid-19 vaccination sites across the country.
However, due to stringent cold chain storage requirements and the imperative of reducing potential exposure to high temperatures, different regions and districts will announce and inform the public about the sites where the Pfizer vaccine will be available."
Shangula said government will work with all stakeholders to increase vaccine uptake to achieve the required level of herd immunity by the targeted date of March 2022, which has been seen as a challenge to achieve.
"Although we are seeing a downward trend in the number of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths, we are not out of the woods yet.
Vaccination will help us to revive our economy and defeat Covid-19. It will help us flatten the curve and remain a step ahead of the pandemic. We have seen that by working together, we can change the trajectory of the disease," he said.