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Low vaccination rates impede economic growth - Geingob

President Hage Geingob says Namibians should get vaccinated in their numbers to bolster economic growth.

In his 39th COVID-19 public briefing delivered on Thursday, Geingob noted that vaccine hesitancy continues to persist in Namibia, with the Zambezi region recording the lowest rate at 6%.

According to the President, Hardap region has the highest fully vaccinated population coverage at 23%, followed by Kavango West and Omaheke at 19% and Kunene and //Kharas regions at 18% each. On the other hand, Khomas region only has a 17% fully vaccinated population coverage, ahead of Oshana at 10% followed by Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto at 9%.

“COVID-19 vaccines are an effective measure to mitigate severe illness and death from infection and I, therefore, urge all eligible members of the public to go and get vaccinated or get your booster shot as a means of bolstering your immunities. This is a personal medical decision that should be considered in the greater interest of protecting the collective. Vaccination is our best chance to kick-start our economy,” he said.

“The hour is now for us to rebuild our economy and our communities that have been devastated by COVID-19.”

A major hurdle in slowing or stopping the pandemic is to increase the percentage of the population that is vaccinated. Namibia has still not achieved what would be considered a level of immunization that could ultimately defeat the virus. A large group of Namibians are hesitant to receive the vaccine or are ardently opposed to it. As a result, immunity on a societal scale remains elusive.

At the same time, it became apparent that vaccines received earlier offered a waning level of protection, leading health officials to encourage those who received the final vaccination dose six months prior or longer to obtain a booster shot.

President Geingob recently warned that the low vaccination rates will inhibit the country from achieving its set growth targets, amid limited mobility leading to supply chain disruptions, in turn resulting in low economic growth.

Bank of Namibia Governor Johannes Gawaxab has also warned that vaccine hesitancy and trivializing COVID-19 can have a disastrous effect on the country's economy which was expected to recover gradually in 2021 by 1.4% and improve to a 3.4% growth rate in 2022.

This comes as the World Bank announced on Wednesday that COVID-19 flare-ups, diminished policy support, and lingering supply-chain bottlenecks will see the global economic recovery cool more than previously estimated in 2022, with the global gross domestic product only increasing by 4.1% this year, less than a 4.3% forecast in June.

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Last modified on Monday, 17 January 2022 19:10

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