By: Vetondouua Tjivikua & Tjizouye Kazombungo
The health ministry has said that Namibia plans to vaccinate about 215,108 children for Covid-19 between 12 and 17 before June this year.
Director of primary health care Neami Shoopala said Namibia has 307 298 young people in that age bracket from which the ministry is targeting vaccination. She said 70% of this figure should be vaccinated by then.
So far, the ministry has vaccinated about 15 775 children.
“We might not be able to reach this target by the end of June, but we are trying to push that we are close by the year’s end, ” Shoopala said.
This comes after the ministry launched the learner’s vaccination campaign on Friday last week in Windhoek. The ministry launched the campaign in partnership with the education, information ministries, and other stakeholders.
She added that while the health protocols and Covid-19 cases have reduced, the ministry needs to push and get more people vaccinated. She also emphasised that vaccination is voluntary.
Education ministry deputy ED, Edda Bohn, said the Covid-19 pandemic hit the education sector the most; therefore, teachers and learners need to be vaccinated to continue teaching and learning in schools without interruption.
“The ministry of education arts and culture is ready to join forces with the ministry of health and social services and the ministry of information communication and technology as well as other stakeholders to activate and implement this advocacy targeting all the schools across the country,” she said.
According to Bohn, the launch comes after the “get vaccinated and help us kick Covid-19 out of Namibia” campaign in August 2021, which she said was successful.
“The object of this campaign is to remind the schools and the school community that Covid-19 is real and present; therefore, we need to increase our awareness and knowledge of the safety and benefits of the vaccine,” she said.
Bohn also urged communities surrounding the schools to accept and allow the learners to get vaccinated.
“We need to change our own individual behaviours and our peers towards the vaccine”.
Bohn said learners from the age of 12-13 would require their parents to fill in a form they will provide to schools.
Awie Saal, school principal at Otjomuise Primary School, told The Villager that it’s in the nation’s interest to vaccinate learners to ensure that teaching and learning are not interrupted again.
“At the end of the day, we can go with the campaign, but it is in the hands of the parents to sign those consent forms so that their children can be vaccinated. It is also important for parents to look at the bigger picture. We know there is some negativity. We know there is some social media information, but sitting here, I am well.”
He further urged teachers and parents to work together to make this campaign a success.
A learner who spoke to The Villager said, “We need to be protected at all times from Covid-19.”
She also urged fellow learners to get vaccinated.
The advocacy of the learners’ campaign was implemented at the end of last year through social media platforms, radio, television and one on one mobilisation within communities.