China-donated Sinopharm vaccine extends health care to Namibians, deepening relations at grassroots

(Xinhua) 17:21, July 17, 2021

WINDHOEK, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Meke Inotila Fanuel from Oshaandja village in the northern part of Namibia was inoculated with Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China due to its reported high efficacy rate.

"I chose Sinopharm because of its strength and minimal side effects. It was also the only one of the two vaccines available at the start of the vaccination campaign," Fanuel said.

Namibia is a country in Southern Africa with a population of 2.5 million. The country, however, has accumulated 109,956 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has registered 2,270 related deaths so far. It received the first batch of 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine early this year.

More locals are embracing the vaccine.

John Hangula, a media professional based in Windhoek, the national capital, got his first jab in June and recently the second. The decision to go for Sinopharm was informed by the international community and country experiences, particularly China.

"I believe that China dealt with the pandemic better than most countries. So it was an easy decision to go for Sinopharm," he said.

Meanwhile, inoculation with Sinopharm extends beyond health care and strives for herd immunity.

Motivated by the commitment to boost the immune system and protect the immediate community, Calistus Mukahanama, a medical doctor in Windhoek, was also vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine.

Local leaders have since also embraced Sinopharm. In May, Namibian Vice President Nangolo Mbumba, among many, also took the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in Windhoek.

Moreover, the Chinese-donated vaccine is cementing China-Namibia relations at the grassroots level across the country.

Fanuel commended China for extending aid to Namibia.

"This represents to me that Namibia and China will forever have a strong and long-term friendship. More so given that first doses of the vaccines were a gift with high hope that it will help our country better manage the pandemic," Fanuel added.

Complementary with the vaccine, China has helped Namibia administer and promote equal health for its people, according to Hangula, the media professional.

"China's aid came at a time we needed them the most, looking at the reported disparities in the distribution and in terms of availing the vaccine to the continent. So bravo to the Chinese government," he added.

Experts concur. Marius Kudumo, director of international relations at Namibia University of Science and Technology, said that aid provided by China strengthens the cooperation between Namibia and China.

"It deepens solidarity within the scope of bilateral and international cooperation," he said.

In the interim, government has urged those eligible to consider vaccination.

"Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to protect our country against the onslaught of this dangerous pandemic," said Kalumbi Shangula, minister of Health and Social Services.

The Health Ministry has also finalized orders for doses of Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, according to Shangula.

As of Thursday, a total of 133,863 people had received the first dose and 32,753 had been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.

(Web editor: Guo Wenrui, Bianji)


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