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Govt to ramp up vaccine distribution

2021-07-16  Albertina Nakale

Govt to ramp up vaccine distribution
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Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has assured Covid-19 vaccine doses will be distributed this weekend countrywide for the campaign to get back on track on Monday. 

Namibia expects delivery of 250 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine tomorrow. 

Various districts have run out of Covid-19 doses as government wait for more stock to arrive.  

“These vaccines were bought from China by government,” he said.  

Namibia also expects delivery of 40 800 doses of AstraZeneca from the Covax facility as from next week. The exact date of arrival of the vaccines has not been communicated yet. 

Thus far, 32 753 Namibians have been fully vaccinated, while 133 863 received the first dose. 

Government has set a target to inoculate at least 1.5 million citizens to reach herd immunity against the virulent pandemic. 

Government has also procured 333 333 doses of Johnson & Johnson from the Africa Union platform. 

These doses will be delivered in a staggered fashion from August to December. 

Shangula also announced that Namibia will receive a donation of 168 000 doses of Johnson & Johnson from the United States of America via the Covax facility between July and September 2021. 

“The ministry is identifying new vaccination sites to improve access. We have noticed great interest among the public to get vaccinated. We are pleased with this development. We, therefore, assure the public that we shall do everything possible to make sure that vaccines are available,” he said.  

He thanked the international community for responding positively to the request for assistance in combating Covid-19.  

Regarding overwhelmed mortuaries, he said the City of Windhoek has assisted to decongest the mortuaries with the disposal of unclaimed bodies.

 “Deaths are not slowing down. The nature of the pandemic depends on various variables. The effects observed today may not be as a result of what happened today. It might be a result of what happened a month or two weeks ago. Hence, it is difficult to measure the nature of the pandemic,” he clarified. 

Burials of persons who have died of Covid-19 complications remain a contentious issue in Namibia. Shangula repeated that people need to adjust and conform to the new imperatives imposed on us by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The current measures remain, which include a Covid-19 burial must strictly take place within 10 days after the death has occurred.  

The attendance at the burials site is limited to 10 mourners only.  

“The so-called ‘after tears’ parties are disrespectful to the departed individual… and are therefore prohibited. It is also discouraged to serve meals after the burial. Where food is to be served, it must be on a take-away basis. As I always say, we do not want one funeral to breed more funerals,” he said.  

On medical oxygen, he says currently, any patient that needs hospitalisation is guaranteed a bed with oxygen supply. 

“Oxygen supply to the hospital has been addressed to a large extent. The oxygen is being procured from South Africa and brought into Namibia by trucks. The current events in South Africa may pose a threat to the seamless supply of oxygen to Namibia,” he remarked. 

The ministry has also provided additional beds at existing hospitals, which now stands at 1 050 isolation beds and 143 ICU beds countrywide.

 Government has also obtained refrigerated containers to serve as additional mortuary space. All in all, he said, additional 214 mortuary spaces were created.  –

2021-07-16  Albertina Nakale

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