Get the vaccine

Let the cosmopolitan, distracted, and politically intolerant outside world fight over not taking the COVID for their strange reasons; here in Namibia, we don’t have that luxury. Everyone eligible must get the vaccine if they are available.

Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries globally. We have relatively passable roads infrastructure and a small number of available vaccines versus the number of eligible and available recipients. One would think there would be a stampede on vaccination sites. People desperate to avoid sickness and death at the hands of COVID should be clamoring for their shots. There are not enough in the country for all of those who need to get them. And yet, vaccination sites are reporting low turnouts.

It can make the public nervous when information about the distribution of donated vaccines is set to be announced “in due course.” The vaccines have a relatively fast expiration date and need the coldest of temperatures to remain viable. Now is not the time for the usual Namibian bureaucratic paper shuffle and slow motion. These donations are not arriving on the spur of the moment from heaven. Countries donating them have contacted our government long before the doses arrive. They are doing this because of the fast expiration date of the doses and the absolute need for super cold freezers to keep them viable. Let the dates of the shots be announced immediately when the vaccines arrive.

There are situations where people have received one dose of a vaccine of one kind. Then, too much time elapses before the second dose of that same vaccine is available. The question begs – if someone has one dose of one vaccine, are they fully vaccinated if they receive a second dose of another vaccine brand? Government must press the international scientific community on this exact point. That is what is happening due to the reality that we are receiving donations of different kinds of vaccines. The clock is ticking for many who have had one dose and need another, and yet, the type they need is not available anymore. Other types are available. What should these people do?

When people do not turn up at the vaccination locations, what is Plan B? Is the government moaning about people not turning up, or are they getting mobile units ready to take the vaccine to the people? Think outside the vaccination tent. Find the churches on Sundays and get people as they go in and out. Go to the shopping malls after payday or on Saturdays and get people as they buy food.

Ask the Breweries and Hartlief to sponsor beer and boerewors parties in each region, but only those vaccinated can get in. Set up vaccine sites at Home Affairs and NATIS offices.

No one can get service for anything unless they have at least the first shot of the vaccine or a medical exemption.

Anyone receiving a government salary must be obliged to be vaccinated or not come to work until they are, with wages deducted accordingly.

Let the banks get on board. Have express lines or special opening hours for those who can show their vaccination cards.

Everyone else must wait.

No one, even the highest spending tourist or investor, should enter Namibia without being fully vaccinated. Money for a few is not worth the death of many.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (J&J), which needs only one dose, was developed by the Janssen company in Belgium. This company is a subdivision of the American company Johnson & Johnson, headquartered in New Jersey. Why aren’t Namibian embassies in these countries sleeping on the doorsteps of these facilities consistently and urgently asking for more vaccine donations? Local people are getting sick and dying. The economic situation has sunk so low already that any further lockdowns or restrictions may finish us. Now is not the time to wait politely for invitations.

Reportedly, J&J has a 66 percent rate of preventing people from getting sick from the disease, 85 percent in preventing severe illness, and 100 percent preventing hospitalization or death from COVID. Balancing the J&J need for one shot only with these efficacy numbers and the Namibian reality, this cold winter of economic depression could make sense. The experts have certainly had this discussion, but perhaps the time has arrived to review the matter.

New ideas must be tried. We need people to come to the vaccination centers. We need vaccines bought to those who cannot travel for whatever reason. We need enough vaccine doses for all who are eligible. It is not easy to have these things happen. Consider this: Why aren’t the ruling party and government officials mobilizing the worldwide human rights networks that helped during the struggle and put them on the case of increasing donated vaccines for Namibia?

Keep vaccine distribution a Namibianized issue. Let the bourgeois western countries with their citizens’ half-baked politically motivated fears scare themselves into not taking doses. Namibians must not follow their nonsense. In the Land of the Brave, with only 2.5 million people, if our serious sickness and death rates match those of the unvaccinated in those places, our country would cease to exist.

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