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Vaccine rollout off to slow restart in south

2021-07-21  Steven Klukowski

Vaccine rollout off to slow restart in south
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KEETMANSHOOP –Hardap regional health director Yvonne Stephanus said the number and accessibility of vaccination points in the region may be one of the reasons contributing to many eligible persons not getting their Covid-19 jabs. 

“After receiving new vaccines over the weekend, the regional health management team and Covid-19 taskforce started to identify and open more vaccination points
as a measure of scaling up the campaign,’’ she explained. 

The director added her office has been requested by traditional authorities in the region to identify and put up more points in remote areas or alternatively bring residents closer to urban vaccination points.

Stephanus said these teams would also embark on a vigorous vaccination awareness campaign to educate and sensitise people about the positive side of getting inoculated and also the importance of Covid-19 vaccines in terms of strengthening their immune systems. ‘’The process started off slowly, but after people became aware and educated on the importance of getting vaccinated, figures are now steadily rising,’’ she said. 

The health professional also said most of the people getting vaccinated with the first batch of vaccines were for their first-and-second doses of Sinopharm, whilst the rest got only their first doses of AstraZeneca. 

Stephanus also said an approximate total of 6 000 people got vaccinated for their first and second doses with the first batch of vaccines. 

When New Era visited vaccination points in Keetmanshoop yesterday, it observed that the turnout at two points was low, whilst the main one at the state hospital had a slightly better turnout of patients. 

Statistics show that by lunchtime yesterday, 40 people received their jabs at the Keetmanshop state hospital, while the Tseiblaagte clinic reported eight cases and the Daan Viljoen centre vaccinated three people. 

Health workers at these points also informed this publication that the majority of those turning up got vaccinated for their first or second doses of Sinopharm. 

One of them at Tseiblaagte clinic raised the concern that people are hesitant to be inoculated, but are quick to run for getting tested for the coronavirus when showing mild symptoms like a common cold. 

It became evident from interviewing these health workers at these points that Sinopharm was preferred. 

“The challenge we are experiencing since the inception of the vaccination rollout is that the AstraZeneca vaccine only has a shelf life of six hours, compared to Sinopharm, where one person gets vaccinated per vial. It is, furthermore, not always possible to inoculate the prescribed 12 people with one vial of AstraZeneca, thus leading to these vials getting wasted,’’ she then explained.  

All the health workers, however, agreed the turnout is steadily increasing now that awareness and education campaigns on the importance and benefits of getting vaccinated are in full swing in the region. An elderly woman at Tseiblaagte clinic, who preferred anonymity, said she just came for a normal check-up but is hesitant to get inoculated against the virus.  “Too many people who got vaccinated in our community died from Covid-19 and I do not want to become another statistic,” she then explained.

– sklukowski@nepc.com.na


2021-07-21  Steven Klukowski

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