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Govt to spend N$580m on vaccines… as WHO hails Namibia’s vaccination plan

2021-02-25  Paheja Siririka

Govt to spend N$580m on vaccines… as WHO hails Namibia’s vaccination plan
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Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday said the country anticipates spending about N$583 million on the Covid-19 vaccination rollout plan to enable to achieve 60% coverage of the population. 

Shangula said the figure includes N$484 million reserved for the actual procurement of the vaccines. Shangula yesterday announced the country’s deployment and vaccination plan is complete and approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 
Shangula said he was unfortunately not at liberty to disclose the exact date of the rolling out and arrival of the vaccines but the first batch is expected to be in the country next month. 

“This vaccination plan is indicating the steps that need to be taken, which ranges from the training of people who are going to do the vaccination to the budget, distribution, logistics and everything associated with vaccinating people. 
“This is the same process that happened when the polio vaccination campaign took place,” he detailed. 
Shangula said once the vaccine arrives, teams will be distributed to different places where citizens will be receiving their vaccination. 
“Logistically, there will be vaccine points where people will go,” said Shangula.

The executive director in the health ministry Ben Nangome told New Era that at this point, they are unable to disclose the vaccination plan, as it is not a public document.  

“It is not a public document yet, so once it is cleared for public consumption, it will be shared because it has to go to stakeholders and has to be shared with the regions – everyone will have it,” said Nangombe. 
He added the plan is a document of more than 90 pages, covering all the basics about how the vaccination is going to be rolled out, human resources needs, required training and reporting of adverse events. 

“The document also covers the communication strategy to sensitise members of the public and inform them about the correct information. It is an extensive document. The WHO has indicated that Namibia’s plan is one of the best and it is going to be used as an example to other countries that have not completed their plan. That was WHO and other stakeholders signing off but we, internally, are in the process of preparing it for public release. That process is not complete yet,” stated Nangombe. 

Apart from Covax facility and manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines in China, Russian, India and the United States, Namibia is also working with the Africa Medicines Supply Platform (AMSP) to procure additional doses of Covid-19 vaccines. 

“Thousands of these frontline workers have put their lives on the line for our sake. Many have been infected with Covid-19 in the line of duty. Some have fallen severely ill – and regrettably, some have lost their lives. Their deaths should not be in vain,” Shangula said. 
He said the development of vaccines against Covid-19 has created a new sense of optimism and urged Namibians to welcome and embrace the vaccination campaign like the rest of humanity. 

President Hage Geingob yesterday announced the Indian government has pledged 30 000 doses of vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, while the Chinese last week pledged 100 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. 
According to Shangula, efficacy of the Sinopharm vaccine stood at 80%, adding that the country is also in talks with Russia to acquire the vaccine Sputnik, which is more than 90% efficient. 

The Namibian reported that the vaccine (Sputnik) requires large doses; therefore, it makes it ideal for big demands on the manufacturing and quantitation required for rollout on a global scale. 

Furthermore, Geingob also said until a safe and effective vaccine becomes available in Namibia, the restrictions imposed to curbing the virus and continued public vigilance and diligence to the regulations remain the only line of defines. 
“Government remains seized with procuring vaccines for the Namibian people. We are engaged with our friends in the international arena at various levels to expedite this process,” he assured.

2021-02-25  Paheja Siririka

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