Blair meets Samia, promises COVID-19 vaccine support

23Jul 2021
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Blair meets Samia, promises COVID-19 vaccine support

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday discussed various issues with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who promised to help Tanzania secure Covid-19 vaccines.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has an audience with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Photo: State House

The meeting took place at the State House in Dar es Salaam where the former premier said he would connect Tanzania with vaccine manufacturers.

Blair is the founder and chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which focuses on government advisory practice, and at present it has dedicated its activities to the fight against Covid-19 after its outbreak, as the organisation is currently focused on Covid-19 testing and vaccine access.

The global change entity is currently working in 16 African countries to help government implement certain priorities but for the past year and half in the wake of the Covid-19 challenge.

President Samia welcomed the Tony Blair Institute in its vocation to help the government implement its various development initiatives, the statement indicated, noting that the president outlined the government’s Covid-19 control plan, including coordinating a mass vaccination rollout.

It similarly noted that the institute can help with advice on governance issues, where the president’s emphasis was on Tanzania’s efforts to improve ease of doing business, with private sector being involved in a seamless manner in the implementation of the third five year development plan (FYDP III).

Along with Government Advisory Practice, the Tony Blair Institute has a Policy Futures unit which delivers analysis and advice to help countries mitigate the climate change impact, harness the power of technology and “position themselves for the rebuilding to come,” especially in the wake of the pandemic.

After taking office late March, President Samia shifted the Covid-19 narrative by adopting the World Health Organisation (WHO) position, at a moment that a new wave of the pandemic was hitting the world, especially the delta variant first noticed in India.

UN agencies, diplomatic missions, international organizations and some private entities were recently reported to have shipped in vaccines and inoculated their staff and families.

Speaking at an Eid Baraza in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said Covid-19 vaccines were available in the country and that anybody willing was free to be vaccinated, without the type of vaccine being named. The government hasn’t as yet recommended any particular vaccine, observers noted.

Similarly, Zanzibar authorities announced last week that it had started administering the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Jabs, the Chinese vaccine, to health sector employees. Health minister Nassor Ahmed Mazrui reportedly said that a sizeable consignment of the vaccine for the public rollout was yet to arrive in the country.

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