Chinese nationals are queuing up in large numbers at the Katutura Intermediate and Windhoek Central hospitals to receive their vaccination jabs against Covid-19. This is in stark contrast to Namibians, including health workers and other frontline staff, who are reluctant to get vaccinated despite the Covid-19 exposure they face daily. A visit to the two state hospitals’ vaccination sites yesterday showed long queues mainly Chinese nationals eager to get vaccinated.
Many refused to speak, citing language barriers. Katutura state hospital chief registered nurse Claudia Kambonde said the hospital has, in a single day, registered a total of 135 Chinese nationals who got vaccinated.
“Katutura hospital is very busy at the moment because of the Chinese nationals. Our people - health workers and frontlines - are coming at a snail’s pace,” said Kambonde,
adding that the highest number of Namibians recorded is 16 per day.
She stated government has since put a limit to vaccinate 150 Chinese nationals per day.
Kambonde further said that it is disappointing that health workers and front liners are not coming forth to get vaccinated for protection purposes.
The Covid-19 vaccination rollout plan phase 1 in Namibia kicked off on 19 March in the selected districts of Khomas and Erongo and ends on 16 April.
Although the criteria for Namibians to be vaccinated for Sinopharm is between 18-59 years of age, Kambonde explained the Chinese Embassy here has indicated that even those above 59 years can be given a shot.
“The embassy indicated even those beyond the age of 60 years can be vaccinated because, in China, the same age category has been vaccinated with it too,” she clarified.
Asked if they have encountered any side effects from those inoculated, Kambonde said they had a minor case on Friday of a patient who started feeling warm and a bit dizzy.
The patient was monitored for 15 minutes and later discharged.
She encouraged Namibians to get the jabs against Covid-19, adding it is worthwhile protecting one another.
“People should trust our leaders. These vaccines are used elsewhere. People have fear of the unknown. Social media is circulating unconfirmed information, which is confusing people when weighing whether to go or not. This myth is contributing to low turn up,” she noted.
China has donated 100 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Namibia, while India also bequeathed 30 000 doses of the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
Since the vaccination rollout started on 19 March, Namibia vaccinated about 881 people against the virus under phase 1 which includes front liners and health workers.
The country yesterday also recorded 291 new confirmed cases, with a large number of cases involving school learners. Four deaths related to Covid-19 were also reported yesterday, bringing the cumulative tally to 513 since the outbreak of the pandemic in Namibia.