BERSEBA – Gaob Johannes Isaack of the /Hai-/Khaua Traditional Authority in Berseba wants to see more positive news about Covid-19 and not only about new infections and deaths as a result of the pandemic.
Instead, he said, the nation needs to be more informed about the importance and benefits of vaccines against the virulent pandemic.
“People in my area have no trust in Covid-19 vaccines, believing that you can still get infected by the coronavirus, forcing you to go to hospital and eventually die,” he said.
The traditional leader added if the country is serious about change in terms of the pandemic, local communities should first be convinced with proof that vaccinations are really working towards their health benefit.
He suggested media platforms should bring about a more positive message of people being vaccinated and who fully recovered after getting tested positive for the virus. “Medical experts should further come down to grassroots level and explain the importance and benefits of getting vaccinated to the less fortunate in laymen terms,” he said. The government recently launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed at sensitising citizens about the importance of getting inoculated against the coronavirus.
Isaack also said his office is constantly trying to convince the local community to go for their jabs and also counter the negative attitude attached to vaccinations caused mainly by false, misinformed social media posts. “I can talk and talk to my people, but there is still a lot to be done by other stakeholders,” he said.
In Köes, the Vaalgras Traditional Authority senior councillor Martin Biwa agreed with Isaack on the lack of positive information about the Covid-19 vaccination campaign. “Our biggest challenge is that of people believing you will die from the coronavirus despite being vaccinated, which becomes worrisome,” he said. Biwa also said the pandemic has hit his community very hard with the majority of deaths related to Covid. “As traditional leaders, we will never stop convincing our people of the importance and benefits attached to getting vaccinated for Covid˗19,” he said. He added although statistics indicate a decline in new infections and deaths, the nation should not lower its guard, urging Namibians to continue practising the prescribed health protocols.
Meanwhile, Julian Christiaan, chairperson of the Tses village council management committee urged young people not to be misled about Covid-19 vaccines. “I always convince my peers that by getting vaccinated your immune system will now be stronger to fight the virus if you test positive for Covid˗19,” he said. The vaccination campaign for Tses, Berseba and Köes initially kicked of slowly, however, residents are gradually turning up for their jabs. It further shows that approximately 400 people got vaccinated at Tses, followed by Köes (250) and Berseba (200) as of 16 August 2021.
Health officials at these facilities all concurred that most people are receiving their first and second doses of Sinopharm whilst they can only administer the second dose of AstraZeneca.They also said it was more senior citizens who turned up for their jabs with the youth still reluctant to get the vaccine.
Centre of hope… The Tses clinic serves as one of the rural vaccination points in the //Kharas region.
Photo: Steven Klukowski