Vaccination against Covid-19 critical

14 November 2021 | Ministries

Namibia is closely following new outbreaks of Covid-19 in other parts of the globe, such as Europe, the US, China and others says the minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula.

“The lessons we can learn from these countries are that we cannot let our guard down. While vaccines do protect against severe illness and death, the disease can still spread and affect many people. Therefore, compliance with public health measures and getting more people vaccinated are critical. For a country like Namibia where the uptake and coverage are low, this must be a worrying development,” the minister said on the occasion of the 36th Covid-19 public briefing.

According to Shangula the trajectory of the pandemic in our country in the coming months and years will largely depend on the conduct of the public in terms of whether Namibians comply with the measures and whether more people turn up to get vaccinated.

“These are critical decisions for our country. We must comply with and adhere to Covid-19 Public Health Regulations without fail. We must avoid unnecessary gatherings. When we gather, we must protect ourselves appropriately and practice physical distancing to avoid the spread of new infections. The wearing of masks in public places remains mandatory. We must get vaccinated and encourage our families, friends, neighbour and work colleagues to get vaccinated. We have to stand ready and stand together at all times. We have to be vigilant at all times,” the minister urged.

Shangula also said that the ministry will continue to conduct genomic sequencing to detect the Covid-19 variants circulating in Namibia.

“We will continue to identify “pockets” of new cases through surveillance. It is in the best interest of each and every one of us to promptly identify new sources of infection. This is how we are going to remain ahead of the pandemic and interrupt further transmission.”

The minister thanked all members of the public for their cooperation in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and called on Namibians to act responsibly.

“We are approaching the festive season, and many people will travel to visit their loved ones. The decision of what you do during this time, if not well considered may have negative consequence on your health and well-being and the health and well-being of others. It is therefore important that we act wisely and put our safety and the safety of others first. Please ensure that you and your loved ones are fully vaccinated. Vaccination will redeem us from Covid-19 as it did in respect of poliomyelitis more than a decade ago.”

Covid-19 vaccination

As at 11 November 2021, a total of 343 482 persons or 22.9% of the eligible population have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccination and 279 765 persons or 18.6% are fully vaccinated.
There are sufficient doses of Covid-19 vaccines in-country, and more doses are expected to be delivered during November and December this year.

The minister said that it is a serious concern that the overall vaccination uptake in the country has declined in the past few weeks. This is despite the initiatives being rolled out to increase uptake.
During the months of July to September 2021, the daily vaccination uptake stood between 3 500 and 4 000 and over 20 000 per week from all regions. This has declined to less than 1 900 per day and just above 10 000 vaccines administered per week. “This trend must be changed for Namibia to reach the vaccination target by the end of the current Financial Year. In order to achieve herd immunity, we need to do more, least we stand the risk of finding ourselves caught up in future Covid-19 waves.”

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