DESPITE continuous pleas from Government and a multitude of concerned groups to get vaccinated, Namibians remain hesitant, with only 22.7% of the target population vaccinated against Covid-19.
This was revealed at the 39th Covid-19 public briefing on amendments to public health general regulations where it was also shared that a bulk of public health measures will remain unchanged.
The low vaccination rate comes at a time where a number of public as well as private institutions have taken issue with non-vaccinated employees dictating that non-vaccinated workers would not be allowed to enter work premises, and face other disciplinary action.
President Hage Geingob has, however, set the record straight stating the vaccinations remain a personal choice.
“Covid-19 vaccines are an effective measure to mitigate severe illness and death from infection and I, therefore, urge all eligible members of the public to go and get vaccinated or get your booster shot as a means of bolstering your immunities,” Geingob said.
He said getting vaccinated is a personal medical decision that should be considered in the greater interest of protecting the collective.
“Vaccination is our best chance to kick-starting our economy,” the President said.
Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab reiterated the president’s sentiments and said that vaccination remains voluntary. If institutions desire mandatory vaccination, they should approach the Ministry of Labour and enquire about the steps and processes.
President Geingob added that vaccine hesitancy persists and as of 11 January 2022, the coverage of fully vaccinated populations remains low in primarily the following regions: Zambezi at 6%, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto at 9%, and Oshana at 10%.
The regions with the highest fully vaccinated population coverage are Hardap at 23%, Kavango West and Omaheke at 19%, and Kunene and //Kharas at 18% each.
The capital Khomas region recorded a fully vaccinated population coverage of only 17%.
Namibia was caught in the eye of the storm over the past year as a fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country as a result of the Omicron variant.
Also speaking at the briefing, Minister of Health and Social services Dr. Kalumbi Shangula shared that a total of 19 846 new confirmed cases were recorded since the last briefing on 14 December 2021.
Giving an update on new public health measures which will run from 16 January to 15 February 2022, Dr Shangula stated that as the number of cases has lowered, the number of attendees at public gatherings will remain unchanged at not more than 200 persons per event.
It was also announced that the current epidemiological environment does not warrant the re-introduction of a curfew.
Measures related to the sale of liquor are retained without change.