Rustenburg – Namibia has made progress in preparation to acquire suitable Covid-19 vaccines, Health Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said on Wednesday.
He said the country has already paid $1 626 240 to acquire enough vaccine for 20 percent of the population through the Covax facility.
“The government has also signed a financial commitment agreement on the 5th November 2020 for the remaining $9 096 780.
“The facility has informed us on 6 January 2021 that it may be in a position to initiate a small-scale ‘first wave’ of deliveries using the Pfizer vaccine as early as the end of January or February,” he said.
“Apart from the Covax facility, there have been engagements with Pfizer on a bilateral basis, China, Russia and other countries that are making great progress in the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines for possible bilateral deals and or donations.”
He said Covid-19 National Vaccine Taskforce was busy putting mechanisms and logistics in place to roll out the vaccine.
Front-line healthcare workers would be prioritised followed by population groups vulnerable to Covid-19.
Announcing new measures to curb the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, Shangula said new cases continued to rise, creating a high-level of suspicion that the more transmissible and virulent variant of the coronavirus was now circulating in Namibia.
“Our scientists are currently busy with genome sequencing of samples to determine whether the new variant is present in Namibia,” he said.
“The exponential rise in new cases indicates that there is an active transmission of the virus in the community, affecting all age groups…”
He said the continuing and rapid rise in Covid-19 confirmed cases demonstrated that the second wave has now far exceeded and eclipsed the first wave.
“Many state and private hospitals in Namibia have reached near full or full capacity and some are unable to admit due to lack of space, especially in terms of intensive care beds and facilities. The situation is affecting and has been experienced in most regions.”
He said a total of 1 350 healthcare workers have been infected with Covid-19 and six have since died.
African News Agency (ANA)