Health minister Kalumbi Shangula says since the beginning of the Covid-I9 vaccination campaign, the ministry has not recorded a case of death due to the Covid-19 vaccination.
Shangula, who was responding to questions in parliament last week, said vaccines are one of the most effective medical tools ever created, and it saves more lives than any other medical or public health innovation.
By Friday, a total of 295 098 people have received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, of which 31 396 have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is only administered as one dose, while 189 449 have received two doses.
So far, 191 216 Namibians have been fully vaccinated.
Namibia has lost 3 538 people to Covid-19.
Shangula explained the possible side effects of Covid-19 vaccines are mostly mild or moderate in form and of short duration.
“They include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, diarrhoea, and pain at the vaccination site,” Shangula said.
He said the most serious adverse reaction could be an anaphylactic shock that can result in instant death after the administration of the vaccine.
“There is a direct correlation between the vaccination status of the population and the number of new infections, hospitalisation and deaths,” Shangula said, adding that Namibians have an opportunity to avert another catastrophe by boosting their immunities through vaccination.
Furthermore, Shangula also touched on the issue of forced vaccination, saying vaccination remains voluntary.
However, he explained that section 39 of the labour act places a duty on employers to provide an environment that is safe, is without risk to the health of employees, and has adequate facilities and arrangements for the welfare of employees.
He said the act further obliges employers to ensure the organisation of work does not adversely affect the safety or health of employees.
“It also requires employers to – and again I quote ‘take any other steps to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees at work’, “he said.
Also, he said, there are additional duties placed on employers in relation to persons other than their employees.
In this regard, he said, every employer is required to conduct its business operations in a manner that, as far as is reasonably practicable, persons who are not employees of that employer are not exposed to the risk of their safety or health.
He said, on their part, employees also have duties placed on them by the same piece of legislation, which includes taking reasonable care to ensure their safety and health in the workplace – to ensure the safety and health of any individual who may be affected by the employee’s activities at work, and to co-operate with the employer to enable the employer to perform any duty imposed under this chapter or the regulations.