Erongo vaccine rollout ‘relatively slow’
21 July 2021 | Health
Neville Andre; Erongo governor; “The slow uptake could be due to a number of factors ...”
Erongo governor Neville Andre announced that he would be inflating the daily vaccination target from 400 to 1000 persons per day through the establishment of the Erongo Vaccination Campaign for Covid-19 (EVCC).
The governor has set his sights on vaccinating 68% of the Erongo region (roughly 121 000 individuals), but as of Tuesday he announced that merely 1 938 persons in the Erongo region had been fully vaccinated.
“The slow uptake could be due to a number of factors such as insufficient human resources, a scarcity of vaccines and misinformation,” the governor said.
In light of this, he says social media platforms will be engaged extensively to combat misinformation.
Andre also noted with concern that specifically the younger age groups are not being vaccinated.
The office of the governor in collaboration with the health ministry hopes to establish 16 more vaccination sites as well as dispatch one mobile vaccination team to every district in the region.
The aim of the mobile teams will be to reach out to the elderly and the disabled who cannot physically visit a vaccination site as well as those in outlaying areas.
Ministry weighs in
The health ministry recommends waiting 14 days after de-isolation before getting vaccinated when a patient has tested positive for Covid-19. This applies to both the first and second doses.
It is not recommended that a patient receives the influenza and Covid-19 vaccines at the same time, but rather recommends a 14-day wait.
Immuno-compromised persons and those living with HIV/AIDS are recommended to get vaccinated against Covid-19, however the ministry says that little information is available on the effectiveness of these vaccines among such patients. The ministry advises consulting with health practitioners on an individual level to allow individual risk assessment.
Individuals with co-morbidities are also recommended to get vaccinated, but those diagnosed with acute leukemia and lymphoma and are on aggressive chemotherapy with neutropenia (low neutrophil, a type of white blood cell) should opt not to get vaccinated until the issue is resolved.
The ministry also advises that pregnant women be vaccinated but note that there is currently limited data on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in pregnant women. However, due to the mechanisms of vaccines, the ministry also believes it is safe for breastfeeding women to be vaccinated.
The ministry especially advises those 60 and older to get vaccinated but note that individual risk assessment is beneficial.
High blood pressure, according to the ministry, is not a contraindication to being vaccinated against Covid-19.
The ministry notes concern for Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) in relation to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but state that the risks are miniscule. Healthcare workers should counsel those being vaccinated regarding these risks.
The health ministry is in agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO) that available vaccines provide some semblance of immunity even in the face of the Beta and Delta variants of Covid-19.