By: Selma Taapopi
The Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have raised concern with the low Covid-19 vaccination uptake in Namibia as only 17.46% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated to date. According to WHO, Namibia missed its target of vaccinating 60% of its population by the end of June this year. WHO country representative Dr. Charles Sagoe-Moses noted that despite the country’s extensive commendable investment in making vaccines available to the most vulnerable and the general population the country is still lagging behind in reaching its target. Sagoe-Moses who made these remarks while speaking at the launch of the national intergrated vaccination campaign stated that vaccine absorption is not only affected by vaccine hesitancy and low risk perception but also by political will to drive vaccination, logistics and insufficient planning and rollout of activities at the operational level. Sagoe-Moses stated that Namibia reported 17.46% persons fully vaccinated with the last dose of the primary series of the Covid-19 vaccines missing its target of vaccinating 60% of its population by the end of June this year. Sagoe-Moses also mentioned that the Covid-19 vaccination rate in Africa is in stark contrast with what is witnessed in the more developed world where for example Canada has 83.06% persons fully vaccinated with the last dose of the primary series, Sweden 71.65 and China 86.12% by 26 July 2022. Sagoe-Moses further stated that over 500 million Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered in the WHO African region, representing 65% of doses received as of 31 July 2022. This means that 21.4% of the African population is fully vaccinated which is an increase of 18% from early June this year. "Within the SADC region only two countries have reported over 70% of their population fully vaccinated. These are the islands of Mauritius and Seychelles which also have a small population and are the only two high-income countries in Africa. Botswana is the third country in SADC to report a higher vaccination rate having fully vaccinated 58% of its population by 31 July 2022. All other countries in the SADC region have vaccinated 45% and below including South Africa," remarked Sagoe-Moses. In addition, the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) representative Dr. Lul Pout Riek encouraged for more vaccine uptake in order for the country to reach its target by the end of the year. "What is right now, is for the government of Namibia to seize this opportunity to boost Covid-19 vaccine campaign to 70% by the end of 2022. The Namibian government has procured enough vaccines to vaccinate at least 70% of its eligible population. Those vaccines are safe, effective and they will help build immunity and keep us safe", said Riek.