- Intensify awareness campaign for jabs offered in two doses: experts
- More than 3.7 million doses expected via COVAX facility
- Over 85% of 1 million US-donated J&J vaccine doses administered so far
The government of Tanzania is set to receive 500,000 doses of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines by the end of October as part of the country’s ambitious target of vaccinating 60% of its population.
Data from World Health Organisation show Tanzania has used over 85% of the one million doses of J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccines received from the US government in late July, 2021. A total of 885,579 vaccine doses have been administered so far, according to WHO.
The government’s Chief Spokesperson Gerson Msigwa said in a media briefing (October 17) that the expected Pfizer vaccine doses are part of the 3.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that Tanzania projects to receive through The COVAX facility.
The Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which requires taking two shots to enable the body to mount immunity against coronavirus, is mRNA-based and was developed by a German biotechnology company BioNTech in collaboration with American company Pfizer.
“More and more vaccines will come, and Tanzanians should turn up to be vaccinated even if it’s a voluntary decision to do so,’’ said Mr Msigwa highlighting the impact of the pandemic in the country.
The first months of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout saw a slow uptake of the vaccines, but the number subsequently rose after the government and its partners started a mass awareness campaign early this October.
“We also received another 1,065,600 doses of Sinopharm vaccines from China which we have already started distributing in municipalities across the country,’’ said Mr Msigwa, adding.
“The projections are that the country will receive over 11 million doses,’’ he told journalists in Mwanza, the country’s Lake Zone city.
Experts have raised concerns about vaccine hesitancy in Tanzania. The country’s previous stance in downplaying COVID-19 and conventional medicine against the pandemic may have affected the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
With the coming of new vaccines that are offered in two doses, a sustained collaborative mass vaccine campaigns is highly needed, scientists suggested during the just ended 8th Tanzania Health Summit in Dodoma which was streamed live online.
A specialist in Paediatrics and Child Health at the Hubert Kairuki Health and Education Network Dr Florence Kalamabu, urged the government to invest in finding scientific evidence to support ongoing COVID-19 interventions, including vaccination.
“Without scientific evidence on how Tanzanians have been affected by the pandemic, it will prove difficult to establish the right solutions,” he said.
Prudence Masako, Engender Health Country Representative said, “The Public Private Partnership can be used as a tool to fight against the pandemic because this means putting together resources.”
According to WHO, by October 15, 2021, there have been 26,034 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 724 deaths in Tanzania.