NAMIBIA: Teens get green light for Covid-19 shots

NAMIBIA has given the green light for the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to adolescents from 12 to 17 years.

Minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula on Friday announced that the expansion of vaccination to this age group would be done in a phased approach.

“It will be starting with adolescents of 12 to 17 years who are at increased risk of severe illness, hospitalisation and death. However, all adolescents in this age group are encouraged to go for vaccination,” he said.

“Current evidence suggests that children with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Prioritising those at risk is critical in our national response,” Shangula said.

Parents or guardians who opt to have their children vaccinated must provide their consent to do so.

Shangula said Namibians may now also combine the AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the mixing of AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Thus, in the event that a person has been vaccinated with a first dose of AstraZeneca, a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, which is another mRNA vaccine, can be given.

“However, the AstraZeneca vaccine cannot be administered after vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine if there is shortage of AstraZeneca,” he said.

Shangula said other than the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, the WHO does not recommend the mixing and matching of vaccines.

Regarding booster shots, the minister said the country has to reach herd immunity before the government can decide on administering such.

“Therefore, the immediate priority for Namibia is to continue to vaccinate the unvaccinated population to achieve the set targets, before booster doses can be considered,” he said.

Shangula said if the government does decide to administer booster shots, those most at risk would be first in line.

“That includes frontline healthcare workers, the elderly, and vulnerable groups. Booster doses may also be considered on medical grounds,” he said.—The Namibian

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