RESIDENTS of the Erongo Region will be able to receive inoculation against COVID-19 in all the major towns within the regional borders.
The regional health director, Anna Jonas, said that a decision has been taken to roll out the vaccination campaign to Usakos and Omaruru while vaccination continues in the Swakopmund and Walvis Bay State Hospitals.
“We are also planning to do inoculation at the various clinics of the Ministry of Health and Social Services to bring the vaccine to the people in rural areas. There are a few logistical challenges but once we have the inoculation on the go in the bigger towns we will start with the campaign in the rural areas as well,” she indicated.
Jonas made the announcement on the same day that Namibia received 24 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX Facility.
At the official handover of the new consignment of COVID-19 vaccines, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, announced that the vaccination campaign will be rolled out countrywide on Monday the 19th of April.
Jonas stated that the Erongo health directorate will also focus on the fishing and mining industries in order to inoculate as many people as possible.
“These site-based vaccinations will be driven by the various companies. Our officials will contact the institutions beforehand to establish the exact number of people that need to be vaccinated in order to prepare for the process,” she said.
According to Jonas, the administrative procedures surrounding the vaccination campaign have proven to be the most time-consuming and labour intensive part of the entire process.
“Every person that receives a dose must receive a second dose of the same vaccine within a certain period. People that received a SinoPharm shot must receive their second shot within 28 days while those that had the Covishield must receive their second dose within three months otherwise the vaccine would be ineffective,” she said.
She indicated that keeping track of all the important information is key to the success of the vaccination campaign.
The regional health director said people that received the first shot will still have to continue practicing all the basic prevention measures such as handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing.
“People will be required to continue practicing the basic prevention measures because they might still pick up or spread infections. Like with every other vaccine, the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine is not 100%. The basic prevention measures have also prevented the spread of among others, Hepatitis E and Tuberculosis, so it will not only be good for curbing the spread of COVID-19 but also to prevent other dangerous illnesses to spread,” she said.
Jonas said that people should not be afraid to get vaccinated.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there but we can say without hesitation that the vaccines we give to people are safe. We have not picked up any adverse reactions from the more than 3 000 people already vaccinated,” she said.
Jonas further stated that people will be able to choose which one of the vaccines currently available in Namibia they will be inoculated with.
She however stressed that health officials will first assess a person that will be vaccinated to ensure that underlying health issues and possible co-morbidities do not exist before a specific vaccine can be chosen.
According to Jonas, the age range has been extended to include people between the ages of 18 and 65. She added that people above the age of 59 will be subjected to a more thorough screening before they can be inoculated to avoid any possible adverse effects.
She concluded by saying that people in the frontline and those that provide essential services will remain the focus of the extended vaccination campaign.