The first batch of Covid-19 vaccine doses is headed to Namibia, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula confirmed yesterday. Shangula told New Era yesterday the precise date for the vaccine to arrive will be communicated soon.
“You will soon be informed of the exact date. The arrival will be this week,” Shangula assured. Namibia is expected to go ahead with the rolling out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine despite countries temporarily suspending the use of the India-manufactured vaccine.
Last month, South Africa halted the use of the vaccine, claiming it did not protect clinical trial volunteers from mild or moderate illness caused by the more contagious virus variant that was first seen there.
This week, Ireland temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca following a report from Norway of patients developing blood clots post inoculation.
In November, Namibia approved an upfront payment of N$26.4 million to the Covax global Covid-19 vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), giving it the option to buy coronavirus vaccines for 20% of its population.
Frontline health workers and people of advanced age will be the first recipients of the jabs.
Namibia is also in discussion with other governments and vaccine manufacturers to secure additional vaccine supplies to cover the remaining 40% of the population.
The country is now expected to take delivery of nearly 130 000 vaccine doses, while the Indian and Chinese governments have also donated 30 000 and 100 000 doses respectively.
The Indian vaccine will be sourced from the Serum Institute, while the Chinese doses will come from Sinopharm. Namibia was initially promised the first batch of vaccine doses at the end of January and early February.