Vaccines are with us faster than expected, which speaks volumes

30Jul 2021
The Guardian
Vaccines are with us faster than expected, which speaks volumes

THE rolling out for Covid-19 vaccinations has started in earnest, one year before most people expected up to a million people to stand to be vaccinated just by joining a queue at a hospital or health centre.

Wednesday saw President Samia Suluhu Hassan lead several other national leaders in the launch of the national Covid-19 vaccination drive, with a vow that all Tanzanians willing to get the jabs were welcome to do so.

That was important to make clear in that there are fears that, going by recent trends, the vaccines are more dangerous than the disease, that they alter human genetic codes to make people into something else.

There is even the possibility that, within a few months, sufficient stocks would have been delivered for all those willing to be inoculated to get the jabs.

This helps to end a situation where, to be vaccinated one had to put up finances to travel to as far as the Middle East or South Africa where vaccines are readily available for a while.

A similar anomaly was the fact that foreigners living in Tanzania were not being allowed back into their countries because of our earlier stance on vaccination.

The work yet to be done is fairly easy, that the vaccine is better than raw exposure to the virus, and that any mishaps are usually those that medicine can manage, especially allergies.

Such a difficulty arose in the past when it was decided that we shift from chloroquine to the likes of SP (sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine) tablets as a first-line drug for uncomplicated malaria, as many people experienced serious difficulties.

To be sure, the current vaccines have fewer such drawbacks, and actually many people now want an extra jab as stronger strands of the virus are hatching up, adding to the ‘burden’ the body faces.

One thing the president made clear, and showed by her own example that it was wrong, was the conspiracy theories that vaccines were being administered to ‘others’ while those who know better stand aside.

The president underlined that she is a mother of three, a grandmother, a wife and more significantly the President of the United Republic and Commander in Chief.

“I cannot make a bad decision and risk my life,” she said categorically to show that the need for vaccination has no element of ‘them’ and ‘us’, and even those who can make any decisions about anything know that this is simply unavoidable.

Health minister Dr Dorothy Gwajima has lately had the rare distinction of repeatedly making full-blown rebuttals to the pointed and somewhat awkward presentations of an outspoken cleric-turned-politician, a bitter critic of vaccination.

The arguments the latter has been fronting were actually a reiteration of past positions, where expectations were built about herbal solutions, etc.

That track is now hardly worth a rebuttal and, thankfully, we have passed through that stage of temptations to reject the vaccine before things turned awfully bad for the country.

Yet, even now we need to hurry up before it is too late. The Delta Covid-19 strand is claiming lives more rapidly than previous ones. Most importantly, though, our country has not come to the point of making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory.