NAMIBIA, by acting proactively, will be one of the first countries in Africa that will have a Covid-19 vaccine available to inoculate people against the disease and to normalise citizens’ way of life and fully revive the national economy.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, during the national briefing session from State House stated that vaccination is one of the most effective methods to prevent infections.
He said the health ministry is running a programme called Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) and added that when the Covid-19 vaccine becomes available in Namibia, it will be run as part of the EPI.
“In August 2020, Namibia established a multidisciplinary COVID-19 Vaccine National Task Force to ensure a well-coordinated approach to technical and logistic arrangements for the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine in Namibia,” he said.
According to Dr. Shangula, Namibia has developed a costed vaccine introduction plan and a costed community engagement and communication strategy which was approved by Cabinet.
He further indicated that Namibia has joined the COVAX Facility to procure vaccine doses for 20% or 508 200 members of the population and has signed a Committed Purchase Agreement with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization that makes Namibia one of the first recipients of the vaccines.
Namibia has also paid to COVAX 15% or N$28 952 154 of the total cost of N$193 014 360 upfront for 1 016 400 doses of vaccine.
“We are open to enter into bilateral arrangements with countries and companies for access to Covid-19 vaccines. The initial target population, which include healthcare workers and vulnerable people, has been identified,” he said with regards to obtaining additional funds to acquire more of the vaccine.
Dr. Shangula was, however, quick to point out that Covid-19 will not wait for the vaccine to arrive.
“We must make use of all the preventive tools currently at our disposal. The additional measures that were announced by President Geingob were carefully selected so as not to cause major disruption to our way of life, to our livelihoods and to the economy,” he said.
According to Dr. Shangula, the successful control of Covid-19 transmission depends largely on human conduct.
He repeated the request for Namibians to adhere to the new health regulations to curb the rapid spread of infections that has been observed since the beginning of December.
“We should avoid reaching a situation when more stringent measures become unavoidable in order to save lives. Let us cooperate and bring Covid-19 back under control,” he concluded.