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‘Painfully slow’ Covax frustrates health ministry

2021-03-17  Maria Amakali

‘Painfully slow’ Covax frustrates health ministry
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The ministry of health will be using a two-track approach in procuring one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which would involve buying straight from suppliers and open international bidding. 

In a statement issued on Monday, the ministry indicated that government has already paid an advance payment of N$26 million to the Covax facility for vaccine doses. 

However, the facility has not yet delivered as promised, as the projected date of delivery was late January. 

Furthermore, the secured vaccines from the Covax facility will only cover 20% of the population and the country needs to vaccinate 60% to 80% to achieve the required level herd immunity. 

Thus, the ministry decided to explore other avenues, as not all manufacturers are engaged in selling or marketing of the vaccines they are producing. 

“The open international sourcing mode being explored is a failsafe system to enable Namibia to obtain the required vaccines more speedily in case other methods continue to experience delays,” reads the statement. 

The ministry has assured the public that everything will be done to ensure it acquires value for money and the procurement process will be open and transparent. 

“The government (ministry) will only procure vaccine and medicines that have been proven to be safe, efficacious and of good quality – and will not put the lives of our people at risk,” reads the statement. 

An exception has been granted by the finance ministry to allow the health ministry to import and procure Covid-19 vaccines above the threshold. The ministry’s decision to use a middleman to procure the sought after Covid-19 vaccines has been met with criticism from the public – and, among others, the People’s Litigation Centre (PLC). 

PLC questioned why government is not procuring the vaccine directly from the manufacturers or immediate agents and do away with middlemen, who would allegedly inflate the prices.  

The pressure group is of the view that the acquisition of the vaccine should be treated by government with a level of seriousness, which protects the Namibian people from “unscrupulous middlemen”.   

Despite many countries having received and are busy rolling out vaccines, Namibia only received its first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, which was donated by China yesterday. 

China donated 100 000 doses.


2021-03-17  Maria Amakali

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