A donation of 75 000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses by Netherlands is sincerely appreciated by the Namibian government, international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said yesterday.
Netherlands donated 75 000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Namibia earlier this week.
The vaccine doses landed at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on Sunday and have since been distributed countrywide.
Describing the donation as true solidarity between the two nations, Nandi-Ndaitwah said all countries of the world are affected by Covid-19, and when one is willing to share with others at this critical time, that is indeed a “friend who is responding to a friend in need”.
“I wholeheartedly thank the government of the Netherlands for heeding our call and the Dutch civil society as well as the Naankuse Foundation for having raised awareness on our situation,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
She said the donated vaccines represent a great act of friendship and solidarity – not only between the two governments but most importantly people-to-people contact.
“Once again, I would like to extend our gratitude to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, whose main objectives include the achievement of a high level of protection against disasters by facilitating rapid and efficient emergency response interventions by EU Member States globally,” she said.
She said Namibia’s hope lies in vaccinating at least 60-80% of the population to reach herd immunity and to be better armed against Covid-19.
But as it stands, the country has not yet vaccinated more than 5% of its population.
“The vaccines from the Netherlands arrived at a critical time. That explains why, as soon as the vaccine arrived on Sunday, it was immediately distributed to different stations country wide, thus enabling those who were hopelessly waiting for their second dose to get it as from Monday,” she said.
“Thank you the Netherlands. These vaccines are our most important weapon against the sickness and will take us one step closer to ending the pandemic everywhere.”
She said while the rapid development of vaccines against Covid-19 is an extraordinary achievement, successfully vaccinating the global population presents many challenges –from production to distribution, deployment – and most importantly, acceptance, especially in the developing countries.
She said Namibia and the Netherlands continue to strengthen the country’s bilateral relations.
Subsequently, she said in the past years, the two countries have seen increased cooperation in the areas of tourism, trade, energy, infrastructure, among others.
“We have also seen projects initiated by the Netherlands to support Namibia’s green economy. In addition, projects in the areas of science, technology, innovation and education are part of our cooperation basket,” she said.
This cooperation, she said, had contributed to the much-needed jobs and skills transfer to Namibians, with particular reference to the youth.