THE Government of Namibia has approved an upfront payment of N$26.4 million to the COVAX global COVID-19 vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organization to ensure that people of the country will receive their shots.
So far Namibia has registered just more than 14 000 COVID-19 cases with 149 deaths.
The mining and tourism sectors have been severely impacted by the pandemic and unlike many other African countries, Namibia does not qualify for subsidized vaccines under the COVAX scheme because it is classified as an upper-middle-income country.
Ben Nangombe, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services said the government plans to make the payment as early as next week, giving it the option to buy COVID-19 vaccines for 20% of the population.
Nongombe further indicated that the government is also considering bilateral deals with vaccine manufacturers if the need increases, but for now, COVAX will remain the preferred procurement route.
“We are not putting all our eggs in one basket. We will look at other options even at the bilateral level to see whether we will be able to acquire these vaccines through other means. But for now, we are committed to the COVAX facility,” Nangombe said.
Nangombe said the health ministry wants a product that is easy to manage, easy to roll out, and easy to administer.
Namibia will pay upfront for the vaccine.