Good morning. I am so pleased to be here for a second time, exactly one month later, to celebrate the arrival of the second consignment of U.S. Government donated Pfizer Bio-NTech vaccines.
Today we are handing over 124,000 doses of the Pfizer Bio-NTech COVID-19 vaccine. This is in addition to the first consignment of 100,620 doses. And we are not done yet. I am excited to use this platform to announce that more Pfizer Bio-NTech vaccines will be coming. Pfizer Bio-NTech vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in large clinical trials and with widespread use. In fact, the Pfizer vaccine makes up 59% of all vaccine doses given in the U.S. to date.
These vaccines are part of 200 million vaccine doses the United States has donated. The U.S. Government is leading the global fight against COVID-19 and, let me say this huge number again, has donated 200 million vaccine doses worldwide – a major step toward the Administration’s goal of delivering 1.1 billion vaccines doses worldwide. Working together with COVAX, WHO, UNICEF, and partner countries, the United States is committed to donating the 1.1 billion vaccine doses to where they are needed most to end this global pandemic.
We are proud to be working together to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to Namibia.
We are proud to be partners in health with Namibia, including in the COVID-19 response.
The country has done a commendable job protecting Namibians from COVID. We are seeing the impact of these preventative measures because right now, the COVID-19 case numbers are low in Namibia. So low in fact that I am also pleased to announce that as of Monday 25 October, CDC lowered its Travel Health Notice for Namibia from 3 (high) to 2 (moderate), and the Department of State improved Namibia’s ranking from 3 (reconsider travel) to 2 (exercise increased caution). Additionally, your vaccination campaign is doing what it set out to do, which is to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.
This has been a very difficult year for the people of Namibia, but things are looking up. The arrival of these safe and effective vaccines is one of the factors that is helping to make things easier, and to help life to get back to normal again.
But we must not be complacent. There are people who are not vaccinated who think that they don’t need to get vaccinated, that COVID-19 has gone. Sadly, COVID-19 has not gone. Namibia may still experience some very challenging times ahead. As the northern hemisphere moves into winter, people are bracing themselves for more difficult times as we see case numbers rise, possibly due to another variant spreading rapidly though the population. The wonderful story though is that people who are vaccinated are far less likely to get seriously ill, hospitalized or die. In the Namibian winter 2022 we too may experience more spread of the virus. We want to have a wonderful story to tell too, that people are not getting seriously ill, hospitalized or dying. But we can only do that if people get vaccinated.
I congratulate the Government on mobilizing Ministers and Deputy Ministers, alongside some very impressive influencers, to accompany highly capable technical teams on the roadshow. I look forward to seeing and hearing more about the impact this roadshow will make.
In closing, I call again on anyone who is not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated. As I said last time, this is the vaccine that I got, my husband got, and my mother got. It is proven to be safe and effective. My mother and sister were just here visiting for 3 weeks. I was struck by the fact that tourism is returning. We don’t want to see the tourists stop coming if Namibia has a 4th wave.
Please take the opportunity to protect yourself and to do your part to protect your family, your country, and your economy by getting vaccinated.