Tujoromajo Kasuto

Youth in Windhoek surge to vaccination centres amidst increasing COVID-19 cases reported within the last week in the country.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) in March expressed concern’s at the low turnout of people being vaccinated for COVID-19, and that the number of elderly people getting vaccinated was more contrasted to the youth. Minister Kalumbi Shangula revealed that there has been an increase in people taking the vaccine within the last month. “At the beginning we noted that people would come at a particular time and currently we are seeing by 06:00 am the queue is already long,” he states.

He however adds that the youth are as yet still not in the majority. Dr Kalumbi appeals to everyone to fight COVID-19 at an individual level. “The war against COVID-19 will not be won in the hospitals with ventilators, it will be won in the communities with public health measures”, he cautions.

A nurse at the Windhoek Central Hospital, Manasse Nevonga, reiterates the same sentiments as Shangula, stating that there is an increase in the number of people getting vaccinated, as at times some are sent back home, to return the following day. “People are coming in big numbers, sometimes we are unable to vaccinate everybody, as we can only cater to approximately 100-150 people per day”, states Nevonga.

Meanwhile, Head of the Vaccination Centre at Lady Pohamba Private Hospital, Paulina Immanuel, states that there has been a gradual increase in the number of youth showing up for vaccination. “There is a balance between the elder and youth getting vaccinated,” Immanuel adds.

A health official at the Katutura State Hospital states that, “we are all seeing the numbers, recording the deaths and currently the best prevention that we have is vaccination. Namibia happens to be extremely fortunate to have these available for its people and our cry is please come, we have mobilized and made the vaccines available for our people. ”

A few youths who have been vaccinated share their experience. Selma Auala, a young women in her early 20s who got vaccinated with Sinopharm vaccine at Katutura State Hospital, says she chose the specific vaccine as her mother had been vaccinated with Sinopharm and had minimal side effects.

“I’m afraid of getting COVID-19 as I fear I might have unknown comorbidities, that could be activated by COVID. I decided to get vaccinated to protect myself and my family as I do not want to be the one to bring Corona virus home as I have high risk family with High blood pressure, diabetes, etc,” says Auala.

She urges the youth to get vaccinated as the process is fast and efficient, and that those who are afraid of the vaccine’s side effects should be aware “Covid will give you much worse”.

Another youth Celine Garosas, also shared her ordeal as a public health worker who got vaccinated in March with AstraZeneca as it was the only vaccine available.

Garosas stated that, “the process was fast as at the time there was less people getting vaccinated. I got vaccinated because I work at hospital and wanted the protection to feel safe thus too not endangering my parents despite the fact I might still infect them, the risk are lowered.”

Meanwhile President, Hage Geingob urged citizens to adhere to public health regulations as the COVID-19 situation in the country has worsened.

“We are pleading for your safety, stay at home and wash your hands. We have the worse of the situation now. We never expected this, so it is not our doing, it is cold and maybe winter is adding to that.”