Tanzania on Saturday received the first consignment of over one million doses of the Johnson &Johnson Covid-19 vaccines ahead of the planned mass rollout.
This donation of Johnson Covid-19 vaccines from The United States is part of the COVAX arrangement. The country plans to vaccinate around 34 million of the population who will show up voluntarily.
The vaccine are expected to be issued free of charge in health facilities and special centres to be introduced across the country to ease access. The priority would be health workers, people above 50 years and people with underlying diseases. 10 regions including Dodoma, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mbeya, Kigoma Iringa, Mtwara and Arusha which have been hit more by COVID-19 will be given priority. The Minister also informed that the country expects to receive other kinds of vaccines in the coming weeks.
The US Ambassador Donald Wright said as part of the Global effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, they were donating the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccines as part of the US pledge to provide at least 25 million of 80 million doses globally to Africa. He further said that the US was sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic.
Also witnessing the arrival of the consignment were representatives of UNICEF and WHO. The UNICEF Country Representative, Ms. Salini Bahuguna praised the government for efforts to ensure the vaccines arrive in the country. She said this was a huge milestone in the fight against the pandemic. Ms. Bahuguna said the vaccines have been tested with experts all over the world. She urged Tanzanians to accept them because no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
WHO Representative Dr. Tigest Mengestu said they congratulate the government of Tanzania for its commitment to work closely with other partners to get vaccines. She said data shows that vaccination offers long-lasting immunity against the pandemic and having it in Tanzania strengthens people’s health.
The WHO Country Representative also informed that Covid-19 is not anywhere near to finish, and the world is at a critical moment where there are 191 million confirmed cases and 4.8 million deaths occurred, Africa in itself has 4 million cases. These numbers, she said are of real people and hence the need for people to work in solidarity against the enemy.