KEETMANSHOOP - Health workers at facilities in Keetmanshoop say they have observed more young people coming out to get inoculated against Covid-19 since last week. In recent weeks, some companies advertising vacancies have listed being vaccinated as one of the requirements for applicants. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says Namibia could reach a 50.30% youth unemployment rate by the end of 2021.
The unemployment rate for young people increased from 43% in 2016 to 46% by 2018. Namibia has one of the youngest populations on the African continent, with more than one-third of the population between 10 to 24 years of age. Healthcare worker Lena Musirika, who is stationed at the Tseiblaagte clinic, said the youngsters informed her it is mainly out of fear of never getting employed or losing their current jobs that they were taking up the opportunity to get vaccinated.
“They furthermore raised the concern of being turned away by some employers without producing proof of being vaccinated,” said the health worker. When New Era visited some vaccination centres in town, it indeed transpired that some youth in the queues turned up because of fear of not getting employed. Nadia Eises (28) said although being afraid to get vaccinated due to rumours that vaccines might kill breastfeeding women, she has no choice now but to come for her jab.
“I need a job to care for my baby – and if it is the case that one should first proof that you are vaccinated when looking for employment, I will definitely do so as soon as possible,” she explained. Piet Swartz (32), who New Era found at Daan Viljoen clinic in town, also reasoned it is best to get vaccinated at this stage. “It is already so difficult to get a job these days of Covid-19 – and if it is required by some companies that you should be in possession of a vaccination card, what else can I do than comply to it,” he asked.
Swartz also said with such a high unemployment rate among Namibian youth, he is desperate to get a job to take care of himself, further encouraging his peers to get their jabs for a better future. At the Tseiblaagte clinic, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was introduced for the first time yesterday, according to Musirika, the health worker in charge of vaccinations at the facility.
“Dai ly, we vaccinate approximately 20 people, from whom the youth make up the biggest number,” she added. Meanwh i l e, Florence Silandula at KЪes clinic informed this publication that it is older people turning up for their jabs at the village. “Commendable, however, is that commercial farmers in the area are bringing in their workers to us, as these points are sometimes not easily accessible,” she said.
Sophie Rooi, a health worker at Karasburg state hospital, when approached for comment, raised the concern that some of the youth are still reluctant and unwilling to get vaccinated, in the process influencing older people to follow suit. “As a health team, we have, however, decided to take a door-to-door approach, firstly educating people on the benefits of getting vaccinated – and in most cases, convince them to get their jabs,” she explained.
Statistics from the health ministry’s daily Covid-19 update indicated a total of 7 553 patients in the //Kharas region received their first dose of Sinopharm as of 20 September 2021, whilst 3 404 prefers the AstraZeneca vaccine. It further showed 5 280 residents got their second dose of Sinopharm with 2 127 of them getting vaccinated with their second dose of AstraZeneca during the same period.