Tanzania’s government has announced plans to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population against Covid-19.
The country last Friday secured one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from the United States through the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative.
Tanzania’s Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima said priority will be given to frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying health issues when the vaccination exercise begins.
“We will announce health centres where the vaccines will be available and the procedures that will be used to provide the vaccine,” she said.
The minister also noted that “the government is committed to ensuring every Tanzanian gets the vaccine for free.”
A total of 11 million Tanzanians, that is 20 percent of the total population will be targeted for vaccination.
The arrival of the vaccine signals the significant change in the government’s policy and handling the pandemic.
In May this year a task force set up by Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan recommended to her to initiate steps towards getting citizens vaccinated against Covid-19.
The experts declared COVID-19 vaccines effective and safe for use, urging the president to join the COVAX facility that shares the jabs.
That was a major step away from previously held notion by the government under late President John Magufuli who was a Covid-19 skeptic.
Among the 14 recommendations provided, the experts advised the government to start publishing accurate statistics on the disease.
Under Magufuli’s tenure, Tanzania also stopped reporting coronavirus data in May 2020.
“The government should provide accurate statistics on COVID-19 to the public and WHO for the public to get accurate information from authorities and respect agreements and regulations that the country has ratified,” committee chair Said Aboud said.