NAMIBIA today received its first consignment of the vaccines acquired at a cost of N$139.7 million through the COVAX Facility.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Sr. Kalumbi Shangula took possession of the 24 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Namibia early on Friday morning.
The COVAX facility which stands for COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative launched jointly by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and other organizations to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Namibia’s participation in the COVAX Facility started on 18 September 2020, when the government submitted a non-binding intention to participate in COVAX Facility.
Three weeks later, at the beginning of November, Namibia signed a Committed Purchase Agreement to procure 1 016 400 doses from the Facility as a Self-Financing Country, committing an amount of N$139.7 million.
One month later in October, Namibia made a payment of N$29 million, amounting to 15% of the country’s commitment. In December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Social Services submitted a Financial Guarantee to GAVI to pay the outstanding amount of US9 096 780 for the rest of the doses.
Speaking at the reception of the vaccine, Dr. Shangula stated that whilst the government expected to receive the country’s first batch of the vaccines as early February, the COVAX Facility informed the Ministry that delivery will take place from March to May 2021.
“I held a meeting with the COVAX Facility in Geneva on the delivery of the vaccines in Geneva. Again, the COVAX Facility could not commit to a definite date of delivery. However, on the 14th of April, 2021, I received an exciting message from Rachel Odede, the UNICEF Country Representative that the first batch of 24 000 doses of AstraZeneca out of 67 200 arrived in Namibia this morning. UNICEF serves as the procurement agent for the COVAX Facility for Namibia,” Dr. Shangula explained.
He further noted that this is just the first of more consignments that will be delivered in the coming months, not only from the COVAX Facility but potentially from other manufacturers and suppliers that the government has engaged.
In this context, the health minister called on all eligible Namibians to make themselves available for vaccination so that they can break the backbone of the pandemic and return Namibia to normalcy.
“We must remain mindful of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. It is causing both severe illness and loss of lives.
The statistics and data gathered as part of our national response show that we are still not out of the woods. New infections are being reported in all parts of the country, amongst all age groups. More and more patients are being hospitalized,” Dr. Shangula noted.