Fake news and conspiracy theories driving the anti-vaccine opinion

Social media and virtually endless sources of information on the Internet are driving the opinions of Namibians who are against receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

Namibia’s health minister, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, on Wednesday during a televised address to the nation pleaded with the nation to stand united in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
A major victory against Covid-19 would be if Namibians could stop spreading baseless information about the Covid-19 vaccine, or being misled by hordes of arm chair “scientists” and “theorists” which sprung up on platforms such as You Tube and conspiracy web sites, since the pandemic was first detected in the country in mid-March last year.
This practise of spreading fake news and adhering to all kinds of theories regarding Covid-19, its treatment and the vaccine in itself is causing in Namibia which was termed “an infodemic” by Dr. Shangula.
Several countries globally have proven that high rates of vaccination has significantly slowed the pandemic’s infection rates. It also reduced the severity of the illness in vaccinated individuals.
“Namibians must stand together to fight and defeat the “infodemic” of false information and conspiracy theories. I urge all Namibians to form a united front in order to continue combating this pandemic”, the Minister is quoted from address delivered on Wednesday at State House. Minister Shangula addressed the nation after President Hage Geingob first addressed the nation over the pandemic’s increasing impact on the health, lives and livelihoods of the nation.

Follow the Rules

The new round of Covid-19 regulations, that came into force at midnight on Thursday, continues to restrict Namibians from living a normalised life.
However, with a paradigm shift you can continue to retain stability in both your home- and work life.
*Public gatherings: communication technology has become part and parcel in how Namibians communicate with one another.
Both public and private gatherings only allow for a maximum of ten people together. Through communication technology it is possible now to “attend” church services and even funeral services via online video communication platforms like Zoom etc.
*Traveling and movement: it has been proven numerous times that traveling or movement increases the risk of being infected with the Coronavirus exponentially.
Limit traveling out of your town or village. Limit (plan your shopping routine in advance) your movement to shops and other public areas.
It is also advised to limit visits to friends’ homes for social gatherings. Not only do you expose yourself to infection, but you too can pose a threat (unknowingly) to the people you visit.
*Curfew: the curfew prohibits movement in any public area between 21:00 and 04:00 of every day. The curfew is another form of inhibiting people movement and public gatherings. Every Namibians should embrace the curfew as a weapon against Covid-19 and not a restriction.
*Alcohol: the sale of alcohol is only possible from Mondays to Thursdays – 09:00 till 18:00. Plan ahead and refrain from purchasing alcohol for any form of social gathering else than at home with your family. It is proven that alcohol intake inhibits responsible behaviour: people tend not to social distance, they lose track of the number of people gathering and you expose yourself to other people’s dangerous behaviour if you invite people to your home for social events and alcohol consumption.
*Visiting restaurants and coffee shops: make your outing to your favourite restaurant and coffee shop special by consuming your take away food and coffee in your vehicle overlooking the lagoon or any other of your favourite places. You remain protected in this way.
*Business operations: be observant of the Covid safety rules when visiting any shop or business. Ensure to follow the safety protocols and report incidences where these shops or other businesses don’t observe the rules.

Vaccine availability

Namibia is yet to receive 40 800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine out of the total of 108 000 doses that was ordered and paid for by the Namibian Government.
Orders were also finalised for Sinopharm, more AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The 40 800 doses is due for delivery within the first days of this month (July), according to statistics released by the health minister Dr. Kalumbi Shangula.
The rest of the procurements are as follow:
*120 000 doses from AZ Europe (to arrive mid-July).
*150 000 doses from Sinopharm (early July).
*Another 100 000 doses Sinopharm, procured from the United Arab Emirates. (early July)
*250 000 does of Johnson & Johnson from AVATT (early August 2021).

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