Tanzania turned a new page in the fight against Covid-19 when President Samia Suluhu Hassan received her Johnson and Johnson jab and officially launched Covid-19 vaccination Wednesday at the State House in Dar es Salaam.
Suluhu’s latest action is total departure from the late leader John Magufuli who had downplayed the risks of coronavirus and shunned masks in favour of the healing power of prayer, at a time when neighbouring countries shut their borders and imposed curfews and lockdowns. Magufuli’s regime stopped releasing Covid-19 data in April 2020 saying that releasing covid-19 figures was scaring people. Magufuli also described covid-19 vaccines as “dangerous” and discouraged Tanzanians from getting the jab.
However, since Magufuli’s death in March President Suluhu Hassan created an expert taskforce to advise her government about how to best proceed with managing the pandemic. Health minister Dorothy Gwajima announced that the number of Covid cases had increased to 858 since the start of the third wave, with 176 recorded last Thursday alone.
Tanzania received 1,058,400 doses of the Johnson&Johnson manufactured vaccine from the US on Saturday through the Covax initiative.