Namibia lags behind in herd immunity target

Rose-Mary Haufiku

It’s going to take Government nine years to reach 1,700 000 people it has targeted to vaccinate across the whole country.

This is because the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has to date vaccinated 14,069 people against COVID-19 since the rollout began on 19 March. Health minister, Kalumbi Shangula, previously stated that Namibia would need to vaccinate 70 percent of its estimated 2.5 million population to reach herd immunity. Herd immunity (population immunity) is the indirect defense against an infectious disease that occurs when a population has gained immunity to the disease, either by vaccination or through previous infection

Namibia’s population stands at 2.495 million and the Government so far has only vaccinated 14 069 (1%) people of the 1 746 500, which is 70 percent of the targeted population. For the Government to reach the targeted 70 percent of the population, they will therefore need to vaccinate 1 732 431 people. It has currently not set any date to reach the target.

Shangula when quizzed on when Namibia will reach the targeted 70 percent said, “It is very difficult to say because it depends on how many people are coming for vaccination.” To date, the country has received two types of vaccines, the Sinopharm vaccine and the AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine.

The 100 000 doses Sinopharm vaccine was the first to arrive as a donation from China on 16 March 2021 and its roll out began on 19 March. It is only for people aged 18 – 59 years. This vaccine requires one to get two doses, a first dose and second dose after 28 days.

The 30 000 doses AstraZeneca vaccine donation from India arrived in Namibia on 21 March. On 16 Apri Namibia received 24 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines under the COVAX Facility. Its roll out begun the second phase of vaccination on 19 April.

AstraZeneca vaccine is only for people who are 18 years and older and also requires one to get two doses, first dose and then another second dose after 90 days. As of Wednesday, Namibia had recorded 70 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the total number of COVID-19 recorded cases to 48 011 and a total number of 634 deaths.

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