By: Ludorf Iyambo
Pionierspark Primary School in Windhoek is asking consent from parents and guardians of children at the school to get vaccinated for Covid-19.
On Thursday, 24 February 2022, the school has issued a letter to parents and guardians of children in grades 4 and 7.
The school claimed that the health ministry wanted to test the Grade 4 and 7 pupils as part of their community screening campaign.
When contacted by The Villager on 24 February 2022 for a comment, the school principal did not respond on time for publication.
Health executive director Ben Nangombe said that the health ministry did not give a directive consent to vaccinate children under 12 years.
“I’m not aware of the correspondence you are referring to. I don’t know whether the regional director of education engaged the school or where this is coming from. So I’m not really able to comment because I do not know the letter’s origin,” said Nangombe.
According to Nangombe, the ministry targets vaccinating 700 000 children from 12.
“At this point and time, the vaccination is for children starting from 12 years. I have to engage with the regional education director to find out exactly what transpired,” he said.
Khomas educational regional director Paulus Nghikembua also claimed that the ministry is not aware of the directive issued by the school.
“Together with the directory of health, it is clear that the age children to be vaccinated is from 12 years, but we will follow up if that story is true.”
Education executive director Sanet Steenkamp said she did not know about the incident.
She further disagrees with the letter by commenting that; “the stamp appears all fake.”
Metcalfe Beukes of the health defence league advises parents to refuse permission for their children to be subjected to Covid-19 mass rapid testing.
Beukes further questioned why 9-year-old and 11-year-old children are singled out to receive Covid-19 mass testing.
He continued inquiring whether the Covid-19 mass rapid testing will roll out to other schools and learners.
“Given that Namibia is a constitutional democracy with the fundamental human rights of each citizen enshrined in the Constitution of Namibia, the parents have rights to information, especially where it concerns the health and life of their children.”
He further said the Child Care and Protection Act 3 of 2015 emphasises children’s rights in Namibia, as does the Basic Education Act 3 of 2020.
“It would be highly appreciated if the principal could enlighten the parents on the concerns justifiably. The parents do not seek confrontation but wish amicably resolve concerns about their minor children,” said Metcalfe.
While Otjozonjupa education regional director Josephine Mutenda informed principals in the region that all between the ages of 12 and 17 to get vaccinated with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
Mutenda said a school health team would be visiting schools, and all mentioned children should carry their health passports or identity documents during the visits.
“Should any learner be found without a health passport, the parents are mandated to give the consent for their children to be vaccinated.”