Tanzania: Why COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines have delayed

  • Ensure variety of COVID-19 vaccines are available, major campaign on two-shots needed, scientist urges authorities
  • Government spokesperson cites transport, logistical challenges in Pfizer vaccines delivery
  • Second batch of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses arrive from China

The 500,000 doses of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines which were expected to arrive in Tanzania by end of October via COVAX facility “have been delayed due to flight changes,” says the government.

The government’s Chief Spokesperson Gerson Msigwa told MedicoPRESS that the authorities are working on getting a plane to “deliver the consignment in the coming few days” after missing the earlier flight.

The COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines are part of the 3.7 million doses of similar jabs that Tanzania projects to receive through The COVAX facility.

Until yesterday, 1,036,812 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across Tanzania, according to the COVID-19 Situation Report dated November 1. And, 55,515 new people were vaccinated during the last one week, the report says.

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.

In late July, 2021, Tanzania embarked on vaccination, with single-shot vaccines of J&J (Janssen) from the 1 million doses donated by the US government.

A medical scientist who spoke to MedicoPRESS suggests “the need to intensify awareness on two-dose jabs in Tanzania.”

“While the government needs to ensure there is enough variety of vaccines, there is also a pressing need to educate the public on the newly received vaccines such as Sinopharm and the coming Pfizer, because these require one to take two doses,’’ said Dr Norman Jonas, a tutor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College.

The country’s ambitious target is to vaccinate 60% of its population of 58 million, but there is no explanation on what the timeline is for achieving this goal.

On Monday, Tanzania received a second batch of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses from China, in addition to the 1 million doses of the same vaccines it received via COVAX facility.

Deusdedity Masemba
Deusdedity Masembahttp://www.researchcom.africa
Deusdedity Masemba is a passionate Science Journalist, writing for MwanaSayansi, Tanzania’s first Swahili science newspaper produced by ResearchCOM. He is a graduate of a Science Communication skills for Journalists course, offered by SciDev.Net through its Script Training Project. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Dar es Salaam but he started his journalism practice while studying. Currently, he is a producer of Ijumaa Ya Sayansi Podcast, run by ResearchCOM.


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