KEETMANSHOOP - //Kharas chief medical officer Rufanus Kooper said despite minor challenges experienced, the region is doing well in reaching the targeted population to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
He made this statement when asked by New Era on the progress made so far with the national campaign that kicked off with phase one on 16 April this year in the //Kharas region.
“As a region, we have so far vaccinated 2 020 people in the three health districts, namely Karasburg (480), Lüderitz (700) and Keetmanshoop (840),” the health professional explained.
He said patients were mostly vaccinated with the Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines, whilst statistics show that most prefer Sinopharm doses.
“I think the fact that China - who manufacture the vaccine - let their nationals in Namibia be vaccinated with it has built a sense of trust in people for Sinopharm,’’ Kooper reasoned.
The medical doctor also explained the purpose of getting vaccinated as being a means to provide a good immune memory for patients to be able to minimise the severity of the coronavirus.
“The health ministry is vaccinating all persons willing to do so, irrespective of their relevant comorbidities like high blood pressure, HIV or renal failure,” he added.
Kooper said the vaccine doses were running out of stock quickly due to their short shelf life.
“Furthermore, both vaccines have been approved by the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council, making it safe to be administered to our citizens,’’ he continued.
The region has started to set up mobile clinics to reach the targeted population.
“We aim to vaccinate 8 936 persons during the ongoing phase one, whilst the ministry wants to reach a total of 17 868 citizens during phase two,’’ said Kooper. Phase two will commence on different dates in May, depending on which date a person has initially been vaccinated, as the period stretching between the two phases differs from one vaccine to another.
The medical officer said most people are reacting positively towards the ongoing campaign as health workers are talking to them. The biggest challenge experienced nationwide, however, is the negative propaganda spread on the vaccines, which in turn makes people more reluctant to getting the jab.
Health and frontline workers will be vaccinated during the first round, while the rest of the population, including schoolgoing children, students as well as inmates at police cells and correctional facilities, will be catered for during the second phase. So far, 80% of health workers have been vaccinated in the //Kharas region.
No severe side-effects from people vaccinated have been reported so far in the region.