Covid vaccine: Healthcare workers, vulnerable persons first in line

14 January 2021 | Ministries

Namibia has made progress in preparation to acquire suitable Covid-19 vaccines, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said.

“We will provide additional details in coming days. The Covid-19 National Vaccine Taskforce is putting mechanisms and logistics in place to roll out the vaccine. We will prioritize frontline healthcare workers and population groups who are vulnerable once the vaccine become available,”

Shangula said that government has already paid N$29 272 320 (U$1 626 240) to acquire vaccine doses. This is sufficient to vaccinate 20% (508 200 persons) of the population through the COVAX Facility.

He added that government on 5 November 2020, signed a Financial Commitment Agreement for the remaining U$9 096 780.

“The facility informed us on 6 January 2021 that it may be in a position to initiate a small scale ‘first wave’ of deliveries using the Pfizer vaccine as early as end of January or February.”

The minister said that to achieve a sufficient level of herd immunity, Namibia needs a coverage rate of 60 to 80% of the population.

He shared that apart from the COVAX Facility, there have been engagements with Pfizer on a bilateral basis, while China, Russia and other countries are making great progress in the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines for possible bilateral deals and or donations.

The minister said that additional resources need to be secured for the acquisition of additional doses to vaccinate at least 60% of the population.

“We therefore call upon the medical aid industry to support beneficiaries of their medical aid schemes to access the vaccine. In the same vein, we will be engaging the corporate sector for support.”

Shangula acknowledged the support that corporate Namibia has provided during the course of the pandemic, and called for Namibians, partners and friends to join hands in ensuring access to and the introduction of the vaccine.

He explained that in coordination with the ministry of finance, NAMFISA and NAMAF, consultations have started to explore avenue to fund the vaccine, adding that an inventory of cold chain equipment for storage and distribution of the vaccine is almost complete.
“Equipment for vaccines that require extreme cold temperatures maybe needed. The taskforce is also planning for human resources and training to deliver the vaccine rapidly once it becomes available.”

In addition to the above, public education and community engagement on correct and authentic information about the vaccines is ongoing.

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