Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has assured citizens that no one will be refused Covid-19 vaccine jabs.
As the Covid-19 vaccination programme reaches the far corners of Namibia, it has come to light that not all those turning up qualify for the vaccine as they lack proper national identification documents.
Shangula confirmed during yesterday’s Covid-19 national response briefing that it has been reported that some individuals have been turned away from vaccination sites and denied the jab because they did not have national identification documents.
“I wish to clarify that no eligible person should be turned away and denied vaccination,” said Shangula.
The health ministry has established 383 Covid-19 vaccination sites in different health districts around the country. Of these, 181 are fixed, 154 are mobile and 48 are outreach points.
So far, more than 20 315 persons have been vaccinated following the rollout of the nationwide vaccination programme.
Shangula clarified that any person with a national identification document who received the Covid-19 vaccination, can vouch for a person without an ID.
Equally, he said, documents such as health passports, voters’ registration cards, documents from church authorities, and drivers’ licences may serve as identification documents.
In cases where none of these can be produced, he directed that a person without an identification document may simply provide their birth date, and if the birth date is unknown, the health workers will use the date of vaccination and the person’s name for record purposes.
“Again, the nation should know that the vaccines are available for all Namibians and people residing in Namibia at no cost. We will continue to share this vital information as part of our public education and awareness-raising campaigns on Covid-19 vaccination,” said Shangula.
He noted that it is encouraging that more and more Namibians are coming forward to get vaccinated.
In Namibia, over 48 000 people have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, while 638 have died due to the pandemic.
The vaccination programme is rolled out under the auspices of the existing expanded programme on immunization, through which the ministry has implemented vaccination campaigns in the past.
Shangula reiterated that the national Covid-19 response and preparedness is informed and guided by the available scientific information and data.
The country also continues to improve local laboratory testing capacity for Covid-19.
In addition to bringing more laboratories on board, the minister announced that the government has established capacity for genome sequencing at the University of Namibia. Genome sequencing conducted at Unam indicates that the variant of concern (VOC), initially discovered in South Africa (B.1.351), is present in 60% of the samples analysed in February.
The variant of concern, B.1.1.7 initially discovered in the UK, was detected in three of the samples analysed.
Going forward, he indicated that they would utilise this scientific capacity as part of the national response and preparedness against Covid-19.
“Namibia will do well to learn lessons from other countries where the pandemic has overwhelmed health systems. The onus of responsibility rests upon all of us as a nation to prevent such horrific scenarios. We can do it by complying with the public health measures that have been put in place. We can do it by making the preventive and hygiene practices part and parcel of our daily lives,” he advised.
The Public Health Regulations that came into force on 1 April 2021 expire tonight.
The amended measures come into force at 00:00 on 1 May 2021, and lapse at midnight on 31 May 2021.
The other measures include the extension of the daily curfew between 22h00-04h00.
The total number of people allowed at public gatherings also remains at 100 persons, both for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Shangula also announced that learners from boarding schools where active transmission of Covid-19 is taking place will remain in the boarding facilities.
The number of sports spectators shall not exceed 100 persons at any sports event, and everyone must comply with Covid-19 protocols.