Kandjemuni Kamuiiri

Learners will not be able to get the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the country, as they are below the prescribed age limit.

Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) Executive Director, Ben Nangombe, revealed that only persons above the age of 18 are in the criteria of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine jabs (Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Covishield) . The revelation comes as Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture recently fingered boarding and high schools as the main spreaders of COVID-19 among learners in the country.

Latest figures from the Ministry of Health shows that over the month of April, a total of 1180 COVID-19 positive cases reported, were of learners.

Nangombe said unfortunately the vaccines are applicable “from 18 and upwards when asked if the age restrictions will not hamper the on-going government efforts, considering the rising cases of learners contracting COVID-19.

Regarding the expiry of the vaccines currently in the country, Nangombe said “the Sinopharm expires in 2022, the Covishield expires at the end of July and AstraZeneca also expires at the end of July.”

Education ED, Sanet Steenkamp, revealed last month that some high schools were reported not adhering to the regulations in places disregarding wearing masks correctly, and where children are grouping and not complying with the issue of open spaces and social distance.

The Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu), Secretary General, Loide Shaanika, stated that there are some schools that are still in a dilapidated state due to COVID-19 cases.

Despite the alarming rise in cases and the revelation that there will be no vaccination provisions, Health Minister, Kalumbi Shangula, in the 27th COVID-19 monthly update revealed that according to regulation No. 4B: Education, “Learners from Boarding Schools where active transmission of COVID-19 is taking place, will remain in the Boarding facilities.”

This far, 24 957 people have been inoculated for COVID-19. Namibia has thus far recorded 48 999 and 652 deaths.