President Hage Geingob, who recently recovered from Covid-19, said his doctor had ordered he take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to his advanced age and underlying health condition.
Geingob had initially promised to be the first Namibian to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before the rollout of the vaccine programme over three months ago.
Both Geingob and First Lady Monica Geingos had contracted the virus.
Speaking to journalists yesterday at the Katutura state hospital where he was inspecting oxygen storage facilities, Geingob said he was advised not to take the available vaccines in Namibia, which are the Chinese-made Sinopharm and AstraZeneca from India.
“I was ready. But I have doctors as I said. They tested me and said given my age, and also my condition, like high blood pressure, and so on, I can only get Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Both of them we do not have them here,” said Geingob. “I called my colleague…one of them (in) South Africa…he said, ‘I would send it (Johnson & Johnson) immediately, take it as agreed’,” he said. Geingob could, however, not receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the rollout of the inoculation programme was temporarily suspended in South Africa for a possible link between the jab and blood clots.
This was after six people in the United States developed blood clots after inoculation prompting the US government to briefly suspend its use. The one-time dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is produced in the US. Nevertheless, Geingob said he would make himself available for vaccination once he is fully eligible. Geingob yesterday also shared his experience before testing for Covid-19. “I came from Cabinet. I talked too long there and when I came to the office, I felt tired. I called the doctor, and the doctor came and tested me. After the test, I went home at around 16h00-17h00. At around 20h00, he called and said I had this thing. After that, I tried to call a doctor I knew for 40 years. The doctor instructed us to go immediately,” he said. The head of state also confirmed they were treated with the antiviral drug remdesivir, which is associated with faster clinical improvement in hospitalised Covid-19 patients. The remdesivir was also one of the eight drugs used by former US President Donald Trump when he tested positive for Covid-19 last year.