Shangula lambasts anti-vaxxers

Otis Daniels_Finck
Health and social services minister Kalumbi Shangula has implored vaccine sceptics to abandon the anti-vaccine campaign and to join the nation to successfully fight Covid-19 together.

“We have noted with utter disgust, the persistent and sustained anti-vaccination campaigns laced with false narratives that people who are dying from Covid-19 are those who are vaccinated. Whereas the anti-vaccination proponents de-campaign vaccination, they have no viable alternative to offer in relation to vaccination,” he said.

Shangula pointed out that an analysis of the Covid-19 statistics from 1 to 11 January shows that 81% of new infections is among the unvaccinated, who also make up 97% of admissions to hospitals, and 94% of ICU admissions. Of those dying of Covid-19, 91% are unvaccinated.

According to the minister, the benefits of vaccination are convincingly demonstrated even in Namibia and his ministry is content that the daily vaccination uptake increased by 52,7% from 2 112 on 13 December 2021 to 4 466 on 11 January 2022. “It is unethical and morally repugnant to deny a scientifically proven benefit to an individual without offering a viable alternative to the proven benefits. There is nothing to gain in opposing vaccination which remains one of the most effective preventive interventions. Vaccines help the body to fight the infection and prevent severe disease thereby reducing hospitalizations and deaths,” said Shangula.

He pointed out that there are few vaccinated individuals who may get severe illness and succumb as a result, mainly due to other existing medical conditions. “It is for this reason that, as a scientific community, we encourage individuals, especially the vulnerable ones with co-morbidities, to get the booster doses. Eight hundred and ninety people received their booster doses thus far. We encourage more people to enhance their protection by going for the booster vaccines,” he encouraged.

The minister said that the occurrence of reinfection and breakthrough infection should not discourage Namibians to get vaccinated, but that people should continue to adhere to all preventive measures in order to protect ourselves and others they may come into contact with, even after full vaccination and after full recovery from Covid-19. A total of 411 163 persons received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine nationally by 11 December, which translates into 22.7% of the target population. Of these 408 658 are persons aged 18 years and above, which represent 27,2% and 2 478 are children aged 12-17 years, representing 0,8% of that target population. Collectively, 348 552 eligible persons are fully vaccinated, including 410 children aged 12-17 years.

The minister warned individuals who are obtaining vaccination cards fraudulently while not being vaccinated. “This is a criminal offence which is punishable by law. We caution the public to desist from such criminal activities,” he warned.