President Hage Geingob yesterday assured his administration will not compromise on the health and safety of Namibians by procuring Covid-19 vaccines that are not effective. Geingob, who also availed himself to receive the first jab once the vaccine becomes available, pleaded with citizens to be part of the vaccination campaign.
“Rest assured that the government will not do anything to compromise the health of our people,” he stated while also announced an extended curfew albeit with adjusted hours of 22h00 and 05h00. Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday announced the country is likely to take delivery of its first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine later this month.
The first batch will be mainly reserved for frontline workers and the vulnerable and will only be enough for 20% of the population. The country needs to vaccinate about 60% of its population to achieve herd immunity. Shangula confirmed talks are ongoing with countries such as Russia, China, India and the US to procure additional doses to cover the remaining 40% of the population.
He said so far, the country has made progress in preparation to acquire suitable covid-19 vaccines as it has made financial commitment to purchase doses sufficient to vaccinate 20% of the target population through the Covax facility.
“We have put in place mechanisms to ensure country readiness to roll out the Covid-19 vaccines.
A national Covid-19 deployment and vaccination plan has been developed and a Covid-19 vaccine task force was established,” he added.
The minister said that the task force was established with a purpose to review the latest evidence, training needs of the health workers and all regulatory, legal and safety frameworks to ensure a high-quality vaccination campaign.
He further assured that the Namibia Medical Regulatory Council is providing the necessary guidance and regulatory oversight. “In Namibia Polio, Measles and Tuberculosis prevention vaccines have worked very well to protect our people and to date, we have those diseases under control.
“The Covid-19 vaccination campaign will be rolled out under our Expanded Programme on Vaccination (EPI),” said Shangula.
The health minister further stated that Namibia will collaborate with Botswana in areas related to the procurement of vaccine, regulatory approval of vaccines and delivery of vaccines.
Meanwhile, Shangula, who praised the country for doing relatively well when it comes to Covid-19 tests, said the ministry has completed the validation of antigen rapid test kits.
“This will allow for speedier and timely isolation of positive cases as well as expedited testing for departing tourists for jurisdictions that accept negative rapid test results for returning passengers,” he said.