by Okeri Ngutjinazo 

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula has dismissed rumours that the Ministry of Health and Social Services is carrying out mandatory vaccinations with the antiviral medicine remdesivir. 

Medication prepared for people affected by Covid-19, Remdesivir is a selective antiviral prophylactic against virus that is already in experimental use, conceptual image.

He, however, noted on Monday that the health ministry is carrying out routine immunisation for women and children which is implemented every year and forms part of the ministry’s events calendar.

Shangula said an audio recording and a certain narrative have been circulating on social media, seeking to instill fear in the public and discourage Namibians from taking up health services. He further said the allegations made in the material being distributed was dangerous.

Shangula said the medication remdesivir was used for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 and was not a vaccine.

“I call on the public to maintain their faith in the government that is working tirelessly to ensure that their health and well-being are safeguarded. I also call on individuals to desist from making and circulating such misguided information,” the minister said. 

Despite the presence of Covid-19 in the country, Shangula said the health ministry was carrying out normal programmes and activities as well.

One of those activities is the periodic intensification of routine immunisation, which embodies maternal and child health and the African Vaccination Week.

The main aim of periodic intensification of routine immunisation is to increase the use of quality mother and child health interventions – family planning, maternal, neonatal and child health services – and improve nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

Shangula said the focus of the events has been to screen and vaccinate children and women of child-bearing age who were missed through routine services, as guided by routine immunisation data.

Other maternal and child health interventions, namely Vitamin A supplements, de-worming, nutritional assessment, counselling and condom distribution were added to the package.

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