Constituency councillors in the Khomas region said although some community members were initially hesitant to take the Covid-19 vaccines, more people are now interested in getting the shot.
The Windhoek Rural constituency councillor Piet Adams said more people are interested in the vaccine now that limited doses are available.
Namibia has only received 197 200 doses but vaccine hesitancy, fuelled by misinformation and conspiracy theories on social media, uptake was slow. The vaccination campaign started on 19 March and by the end of April, only 4 620 had their first shots and 128 had a second dose nationally.
A deadly third wave ensued which left 726 dead in June, hospitals and morgues overflowing and oxygen running out.
The country has now run out of vaccines and last week announced that it would only administer first doses. However, between 30 June and 5 July, Namibia’s total number of people, who received both doses, increased from 24 862 to 26 325.
During that period, only 22 received second doses in Khomas.
“All the vaccines that were brought to Groot Aub and Mix settlement are finished. Some people have taken their second jab while others are waiting for their second jab when the vaccines arrive in the country,” said Adams.
However, Adams explained that he is concerned that the Groot Aub clinic is hardly fumigated, saying it is the risk for patients that are not positive with the virus.
“At least the ministry must fumigate the clinic every week so that we will curb the spread of the virus. The ambulance comes here several times to pick up Covid-19
patients but you hardly see a clinic being fumigated,” he said.
Tobias Hainyeko councillor Christoph Likuwa also said that when the health ministry’s outreach team visited his constituency in May for six days, only a few people turned up for the vaccines but now he receives calls every day from residents demanding shots.
“People are now calling demanding for vaccines to be brought back which shows that our community members are taking steps to protect one another,” said Likuwa.
He added when the vaccines arrive, more people will get vaccinated in his constituency, as he is busy requesting the mobile team to come back as soon as the vaccines get available.
John Pandeni councillor John Moonde said the interesting spirit among the residents is high and the problem is the lack of vaccine centres in the constituency.
“However, yesterday, I have received the letter from the mobile teams that request us to reschedule the date for them to come and vaccinate. So our people are now willing to get vaccinated because they have seen people dying and getting sick. They are scared,” said Moonde.
Nestor Kalola for Samora Machel constituency registered his disappointment with his residents, saying most of them are still hesitant to go get vaccinated.
“Our constituency is massive. But when the mobile team was here for six days, only 50 people got vaccinated. You can see that most of the people are still sceptical to get vaccinated,” he said.
Aili Venoya for the Moses ǁGaroëb constituency said there was never a vaccination mobile team in the entire constituency, hence she does not know how many people were inoculated outside the constituency.
“I have contacted the team and I told them there is space for them but they did not show up at all. Therefore, I don’t know how many people got vaccinated. So far, I have only received two calls that are asking for vaccines because they are interested.
Most of the calls I have received are from people asking for sanitisers,” she explained.
Overall, the country has administered 125 970 first doses and 26 937 received second jabs.
Ministry of health executive director Ben Nangombe last week said, “we have ordered vaccinations that we have already paid for through the Covax facility. These were supposed to come much earlier.
“We are told they are coming in July, but experience has taught us that these deadlines aren’t always met. That is one of the reasons we find ourselves in the situation we are in. We have also engaged other manufacturers and their agents, and we have ordered doses.”