We Don’t Need Your Help: Tanzania Rejects COVID-19 Vaccines Supply

We Don’t Need Your Help: Tanzania Rejects COVID-19 Vaccines Supply

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Tanzania: Tanzania’s health ministry has revealed that it has no plans to accept COVID-19 vaccines just days after President John Pombe Magufuli said that his country of over 60 million people expressed doubt about the vaccines without offering tangible evidence.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: UK Imposes Travel Ban On Tanzania, 30 Other African Countries

Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima told journalists in a press conference in the capital, Dodoma, on Monday that “the ministry has no plans to receive vaccines for COVID-19.” Any vaccines must receive ministry approval.

It is not clear when any vaccines might arrive, though Tanzania is eligible for the COVAX global effort aimed at delivering doses to low- and middle-income countries.

READ ALSO: Tanzania Kicks Off Election Campaigns With Magufuli Holding Massive Rallies Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

The health minister insisted Tanzania is safe. During a presentation in which she and others didn’t wear face masks, she encouraged the public to improve hygiene practices including the use of sanitisers but also steam inhalation which has been dismissed by health experts elsewhere as a way to kill the coronavirus.

Chief government chemist Fidelice Mafumiko also suggested the use of herbal medicine to cure COVID-19, without offering evidence.

READ ALSO: Tanzania ‘Free’ From COVID-19 As Gov’t Official Declares ‘It’s Party Time’

Tanzania’s government has been widely criticized for its approach to the pandemic. It has not updated its number of coronavirus infections 509 since April.

The World Health Organization’s Africa chief last week urged Tanzania to share its data on infections, while the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said that Tanzania is putting the rest of African countries at risk especially the east African region.

“if we do not fight this as a collective on the continent, we will be doomed,” he said

President John Magufuli, who has long asserted that God has eliminated COVID-19 in Tanzania, last week asserted that vaccines for it are “inappropriate” even as the first significant vaccine deliveries begin to arrive on the African continent.

But authorities in Tanzania, from the Catholic church to government institutions, are pushing back and telling the public and employees that COVID-19 exists in the country and precautions must be taken.

While it’s difficult to gauge the level of virus infections in Tanzania, this week leading opposition party ACT Wazalendo announced that party leader Seif Sharif Hamad, vice-president of the semi-autonomous island region of Zanzibar, was being treated for COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its latest travel warning on Tanzania says the country’s level of COVID-19 is “very high.” It gave no details but urged against all travel to the East African nation.

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