Namibia has approved an upfront payment of 26.4 million Namibian dollars (1.7 million U.S. dollars) to the COVAX global COVID-19 vaccine distribution scheme, senior health ministry official Ben Nangombe told Xinhua Thursday.
Nangombe said his country plans to make the payment next week. The deal will help Nambia obtain access to coronavirus vaccines for 20 percent of its population.
Nagombe said the COVAX facility provides good value for money because other vaccines may require complicated cold chain management systems.
“We would want to get a product that is easy to manage, easy to roll out and easy to administer. Namibia is a vast country, and the vastness of the country is such that you don’t have all the sophisticated infrastructure in some parts of the country,” he said.
But Namibia is considering bilateral deals with other vaccine manufacturers.
“We are not putting all our eggs in one basket, we will look at other options even at bilateral level to see whether we will be able to acquire these vaccines through other means. But for now, we are committed to the COVAX facility,” Nangombe said.
Unlike many other African countries, Namibia does not qualify for subsidized vaccines under the COVAX scheme because it is classified as an upper-middle-income country like its neighbours South Africa and Botswana.
Namibia has reported relatively low COVID-19 cases at just over 14,000 with 147 deaths, but its mining and tourism-dependent economy has been severely impacted by the pandemic.