Family to sue for death after COVID-19 vaccine

Andrew Kathindi

The family of Usiel Uapiona Kajovi, a 62-year-old man who died hours after being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine plan to file a lawsuit after they suspect negligence led to his death.

Kajovi was inoculated against COVID-19 at Rhino Park Medical Centre on 17 May, the day he died. The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) stated that an investigation into what transpired was launched.

“We are looking for a lawsuit. The nurses didn’t check his vitals. That is something that should have not been allowed to happen to him,” Kajovi’s step-son, Uendjii Tjituka told Windhoek Observer.

Tjituka, who stated that the family haven’t heard from the MOHSS since the week of his step-father’s death, stated that after Kajovi received his jab, he drove to town to run errands and called him informing him to get him as he was not feeling well. “When I got to him, he had gone to Robert Mugabe Clinic where he said he wanted to get checked since he was already in town. When I got there, none of the nurses had checked his vitals. They just watched him sat there for 30 minutes until I got there,” Tjituka narrated.

Tjituka stated that after driving his father back to Rhino Park Medical Centre for a check-up, where his father died shortly after being rushed to intensive care, he returned to Robert Mugabe Clinic to confront the nurses. “I asked them who assisted the man that was here? The receptionist said she called a nurse to assist him. When we called that nurse, she said asked another nurse to assist him and when we called that nurse, the nurse said she was not told anything.”

“They sat there relaxed and told him to sit without checking him. Had the nurses at Robert Mugabe stood up and checked his vitals, they would have controlled it because they are trained in that, put him on a drip or something, but they didn’t do it. By the time we got back to Rhino Park, when he got inside it was too late.”

According to Tjituka, the deceased had a history of high blood pressure which he used to control with tablets. He also had high cholesterol.

Tjituka said he suspected that this was also not picked up during the screening process at the vaccination point.

“I don’t think they checked his medical history. He didn’t have his card on him.”

Rhino Park Medical Centre IT Manager, Cristal De Klerk, previously told Windhoek Observer that before vaccination, people go through a screening area, where their temperature, blood pressure is checked, and also to confirm that their health history is according to what is on the form. “It might be the vaccine might not be what killed my father. Maybe it was the negligence of the nurses who didn’t check his vitals and they have to be dealt with thoroughly,” said Tjituka.

This comes as Health ministry Executive Director, Ben Nangombe, had previously stated that liability for the death would only be determined once a legal process has followed.

Lawyer Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile stated that the likelihood of filing a lawsuit successfully for the family would be very difficult.

“You would have to show that they didn’t do for him what they do in other cases. My understanding is that they give you the shot and observe you for 5-10 minutes. Even if you feel bad, you would still have to check what the average symptoms are from people that have been experienced in those minutes and under what conditions they let other people go. If 9 out of 10 people develop an immediate headache and are still sent home, yet those people survive, then it wouldn’t be negligence perse if this man developed something, was watched and sent home.”

“His treatment, in order to establish negligence, would have to stand out against the average treatment of whoever gets vaccinated. It’s very difficult to do.”

Kajovi was buried at Epukiro on Africa Day 25 May. He was a farmer and a father of 21 children. “He was like a friend of mine. Always a gentleman and neat. He’d wake up and when going to do his shopping, he’d still wear a tie and a shirt. He had a saying .You never know who you meet in town. So, you should always look nice even going to buy bread. He was very intelligent,” said Tjituka.

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