Health minister Kalumbi Shangula misleadingly stated in a news report that Namibia had met the global target.
On Monday, 4 October 2021, The Namibian newspaper published an article on page five in which Namibian health minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, falsely claimed that Namibia had met a global target of vaccinating 10% of the country’s population against COVID-19 by the end of September 2021.
The headline of the article reads: “We did not miss WHO target”.
The target of vaccinating 10% of the populations of all countries against COVID-19 was set and adopted at the 74th World Health Assembly that was hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) from 24 – 31 May 2021.
In a statement on 30 July 2021, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus again emphasised the target, stating:
“WHO’s goal remains to support every country to vaccinate at least 10% of its population by the end of September, at least 40% by the end of this year, and 70% by the middle of next year.”
The Namibian health minister claimed in the news report that Namibia had fully vaccinated 12.4%, of its targeted population of 1.5 million over the age of 18, by 30 September 2021. According to the minister this meant that Namibia had reached and surpassed the WHO target.
However, the World Health Assembly and WHO target did not apply to or specify over-18s only, but clearly applies to the total populations of all countries.
That is why Namibia did not feature among the 15 African countries that met the target of having vaccinated 10% of their total populations by 30 September 2021.
According to the Namibian health ministry’s own data, by 30 September 2021, 186,647 Namibians had been fully vaccinated. The ‘Key Statistics’ section on the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) website home page indicates that the population estimate for Namibia in 2021 is roughly 2.5 million.
Based on these figures, by 30 September 2021, Namibia had only vaccinated about 7.5% of its total population against COVID-19, falling well below the global target of 10% fully vaccinated by that date.