To motivate Namibians to get vaccinated, individuals and companies have moved to incentivise their employees and the public to get the jab by offering fish, free burgers and even a tablet computer.
The incentives are seen as an added encouragement for the country to reach herd immunity, which currently seems like a fanciful goal due to the small number of vaccinations being administered. Namibia has recorded 830 Covid-19 deaths from July 2020 to May 2021. A deadly third wave has seen June 2021 so far registering 394 deaths in the first 22 days.
As of 22 June 2021, only 107 611 persons have so far been vaccinated with first doses of Sinopharm and AstraZeneca while only 20 999 have been fully vaccinated. Namibia needs to vaccinate 60% of the population to achieve herd immunity.
On Tuesday, fishing giant NovaNam managing director Edwin Kamatoto informed his staff members that those who are fully vaccinated will be eligible to receive an acknowledgement of thanks of 2kg hake fillets when presenting their vaccination card, indicating their second and final vaccination.
“This will apply to all our members of staff, whether permanent or temporary, the only requirement being the presentation of the vaccination card indicating that such staff members have received their full vaccination to qualify,” said Kamatoto.
The NovaNam MD further encouraged everyone to go for their vaccinations to protect themselves, their families, friends, and colleagues. He also noted that the current Covid-19 situation has become extremely worrisome, with numbers rising daily.
Information deputy minister Emma Theofelus, who this week received her first dose of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, also had a competition running on her social media pages for people who get vaccinated to win a tablet, in a way to encourage young people to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
Theofelus got her first jab on Tuesday at the Windhoek Central Hospital where she said the Covid-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing severe complications.
She pleaded with the youth to do their research about the pandemic vaccines available in Namibia and make the right decision of getting vaccinated to curb the further spread of the pandemic.
“Please consult credible sources of information when conducting research about the vaccines,” she implored.
Meanwhile, Burger Eats Namibia also tweeted that it will be giving free burgers to people getting vaccinated. Namibia’s vaccine rollout has been hampered by a surge in misinformation and myriad conspiracy theories.
While updating the nation on 16 June, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said, “we encourage Namibians to get vaccinated. Incentives will be rolled out to increase the uptake of the vaccine.”
Speaking to New Era, Shangula refuted that government has proposed to stakeholders in the private sector to incentivise vaccinations.
The minister said the actual proposal was aimed at primarily improving access to vaccination sites and added there are no concrete suggestions yet on the type of incentives provided by the private sector.
A concerned Shangula on Tuesday noted that Namibia continues to record a high number of deaths due to Covid-19 and urged patients to visit health facilities as early as possible for medical assistance. “Late health seeking behaviour leads to high mortality,” the health minister warned. - firstname.lastname@example.org