Tanzania’s president Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan gets COVID jab, kicks off vaccination drive
In a major breakthrough Tanzania’s president Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan, kicked off the nation’s vaccination campaign today Wednesday July 28th, by publicly receiving a dose and urging others to do the same.
President Hassan, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, expressed confidence in the safety of vaccines and said the country of more than 58 million people will pursue more.
“We will make sure our country has enough vaccines for those who are willing to be vaccinated,” Hassan said during the launch ceremony in the commercial capital Dar-es-Salaam, before taking her jab in front of the cameras
The United States on Saturday announced the delivery of more than one million doses via the COVAX global initiative aimed at supplying low- and middle-income countries.
At the launch of the campaign, Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima promised to roll out a comprehensive public education campaign to counter vaccine misinformation.
“The vaccines are the modern weapon to reverse this COVID and eliminate it like polio and other diseases,” the minister said.
Josephat Gwajima, an evangelical church leader and a lawmaker for the governing CCM party, caused widespread anger last week when he disparaged vaccines.
Hassan, who was joined by the prime minister, the chief justice and other leaders in taking the jab, sought to reassure people about the efficacy and safety of the vaccines.
“I wouldn’t risk my life … I want to set a good example to the public,” she said.
Tanzania went well over a year without updating its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases but has now resumed reporting the data to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which showed 858 cases in the country as of Wednesday.
Critics of Tanzania’s past stance on COVID-19, however, have long warned that many more people have been infected.
Hassan has also pledged to invest in vaccine manufacturing, according to the Africa CDC. On Tuesday, she met the agency’s director, John Nkengasong.