Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Ester Muinjangue was the first Minister to get vaccinated during the launch of the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
The campaign that kicked off today in Windhoek, will be rolled out concurrently out in Swakopmund, and Walvis Bay Districts.
Muinjangue said that all persons presenting themselves for vaccination will be screened for eligibility and for pre-existing medical conditions.
Informed consent will be obtained from all persons presenting to be vaccinated clients will be observed for 30 minutes after vaccination.
“We have all been looking forward to this moment when we roll out the COVID-19 vaccination programme to protect the people and put the country on the trajectory towards normalcy. It has been 12 long months of battling this pandemic which has been tormenting the nation,” Muinjangue said.
Namibia joins other countries around the world to help break the hold of the global pandemic.
“We will experience firsthand and witness the launch of the first phase of the vaccination programme. The plan has anticipated that Namibia may not receive, the vaccine doses which are sufficient to vaccinate all eligible population at once,” Miunjangue said.
The shared characteristics of high population density, informal settlements, and being destinations of many cross-border travellers render them to increased risk of transmission of infection.
The health ministry believes that starting with the vaccination of frontline health workers in these districts will ensure that they are protected and that the health system remains functional and responsive to meet the needs.
According to Muinjangue, the vaccination sites are the Windhoek Windhoek Central Hospital, Katutura Intermediate Hospital, Rhino Park Hospital, Lady Pohamba Private Hospital, Swakopmund State Hospital, Cottage Private Hospital, Walvis Bay State Hospital, and the Welwitschia Private Hospital.
All vaccines and supplies will be provided by the State. The period of vaccination under Phase I roll-out will continue until 16 April 2021 in the selected districts.
The nation-wide roll-out of vaccination to other parts of Namibia is planned to start on the 19th of April 2021.
Muinjangue said that the health ministry will expedite the acquisition of more vaccines to be ready for the national rollout.
All vaccinated persons will be monitored and documented. A vaccination certificate will be issued to every person who has been vaccinated.
The Ministry has started the process of ensuring that Vaccination Certificates that are issued upon inoculation are internationally recognized for those who wish to travel to countries where this is a requirement.
The following identified demographics will be prioritized in Phase 1 and will be covered in stages, based on District Vaccination Plans and availability of doses.
They include frontline health care workers, Community Health Workers, persons in close settings and those operating cross-border transportations, employees at Points of Entry, Police Officers, Journalists, members of the diplomatic corps, mining and fishery sector employees, elected leaders, religious and traditional leaders, people with disability, and refugees will be prioritised in Phase 1.
Persons with co-morbidities will be excluded, to allow the country to obtain more data on the use of the Sinopharm vaccine amongst persons with co-morbidities, those older than 60 years old, as well as pregnant and lactating women.
Persons with comorbidities, pregnant and lactating women, those below 18 years, and those above 60 years old will be excluded during this initial period, while the country obtains more data for these populations.