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      Vaccination target reduced to 1,47 million

      by Shelleygan Petersen

      Photo for illustrative purposes only

      NAMIBIA has reduce the number of people it wants to vaccinate to 1,47 million.

      This was announced by the Ministry of Health and Social Services today, in its daily Covid-19 report.

      “We have adjusted the target group for vaccination for 18 years and above from 1 501 041 to 1 471 973, based on the Namibia Statistics Agency's population census 2021 medium level estimates,” the ministry said.

      The country's vaccination rate, according to the new target is 23,7%.

      According to the World Bank, Namibia's population stands at 2,5 million, which means the total population coverage is 13,7%.

      Currently, 411 801 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, which includes 2 537 children between 12 and 17 years of age, while 349 302 are fully vaccinated, of which 410 are children aged between 12 and 17.

      Health minister Kalumbi Shangula said the daily vaccination uptake increased by 52,7% from 2 112 on 13 December last year to 4 466 on Tuesday.

      Meanwhile, 8 290 people have so far received their booster doses.

      According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) dashboard, Namibia is one of four countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region that have not reached the 40% vaccination coverage mark.

      Angola, Eswatini and Lesotho also form part of the four, while Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana among others, have surpassed the mark.

      WHO Africa regional emergency director Abdou Gueye announced yesterday that about 50% of the world's population is now fully vaccinated.

      However, in Africa, the rate is just 10%.

      “Only seven countries met the target to vaccinate 40% of their population by December 2021," he said.

      WHO head Tedros Ghebreyesus said in Africa, more than 85% of people are yet to receive a single dose of a vaccine.

      “Ninety countries have still not reached the 40% target, and 36 of those countries have vaccinated less than 10% of their populations. We cannot end the acute phase of the pandemic unless we close this gap,” he said.

      ANTI-VAXXERS

      Shangula has expressed discontentment with ongoing anti-vaccination campaigns in the country.

      “We have noted with utter disgust the persistent and sustained false narratives that people who are dying from Covid-19 are those who are vaccinated,” he said.

      He emphasised that the statistics speak for themselves, as 81% of new infections are among the unvaccinated.

      Similarly, 97% of admissions to hospitals are of the unvaccinated, as well as 94% of intensive care unit admissions, and 91% of deaths.

      “Statistics do not lie. Numbers do not lie. The benefits of vaccination are convincingly demonstrated even in Namibia.

      "It is unethical and morally repugnant to deny a scientifically proven benefit to an individual without offering a viable alternative to the proven benefits,” he said.

      Shangula warned individuals against obtaining vaccination cards fraudulently while not being vaccinated.

      “This is a criminal offence which is punishable by law,” he added.


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