Covid-19: Jabs drive knocking at temples

23Jun 2022
Felister Peter
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Covid-19: Jabs drive knocking at temples

REGIONAL administrators in Dar es Salaam are seeking to intensify the rate of vaccination against COVID-19 infections, by camping at places of worship so that worshippers are inoculated as prayers are concluded.

 

Regional Medical Officer Dr Rashid Mfaume told a seminar for leading Muslim clerics and community leaders yesterday that the target is to ensure that 60 percent of city residents are vaccinated against the respiratory disease by the end of the year.

The strategy being implemented by the regional authorities involves the collaboration with stakeholders, including Management and Development for Health (MDH), a leading non-governmental agency in the area of public health that traditionally focused on educating the youth on HIV prevention and regular taking of anti-retroviral medication.

The official noted that the campaign will see mobile vaccination administered in village and ward levels, to attain close to two thirds of vaccination eligibility in each place, thus the need for eliciting assistance from religious leaders to encourage people to turn up for vaccination.

“We are optimistic that with the support of religious leaders, we will reach many people across the city,” he said, specifying that vaccination services will be offered at mosques after Friday prayers.

The Ministry of Health has set a target of vaccinating 3.8m people in Dar es Salaam but has so far inoculated 1.04m people, in which case 60 out of 100 eligible people “should be vaccinated to ensure herd immunity,” he declared.

Current vaccination trends show an increase in the number of people receiving the jabs every day as a total of 17,000 people get the jabs on a daily basis, whereas earlier the city was vaccinating just 400 people per day, he stated.

Since COVID-19 vaccination started there are no reported cases of people experiencing unexpected effected or actually falling sick for that reason.

Dr David Sando, the MDH chief executive officer, said the NGO was assisting the city inoculation campaign with an operational initiative funded by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A total of 3bn/- has been disbursed for the purpose, to provide training, supply working equipment and employ health sector personnel, he elaborated.

“We want to use mosques as a platform to encourage people to get vaccinated. We already have over 300 medical teams offering COVID-19 jabs at the community level. Vaccination services will now be offered at places of worship,” he asserted.

Those vaccinated will have their data entered processed for obtaining an electronic certificate quickly enough, he said, highlighting that as each of the teams has a specialist for data entry and processing of electronic certificates.

Mufti Abubakar Zubeir appealed to Muslim leaders to encourage worshippers take up vaccination vaccinated within the precincts of mosques when the teams turn up, laying emphasis on education  on the importance of being vaccinated.

The need to ensure a healthy nation to enhance productivity in all sectors is paramount, so Tanzanians need to get the jabs as the vaccines were properly researched upon, tested and approved by national and global medical field regulatory agencies.

Mid-July last year, President Samia Suluhu Hassan launched the country’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 by receiving the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, a single shot type.

The Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) authorized five types of COVID-19 vaccines for local use, namely Sinovac, Sinopharm, Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen.

In December, the government launched the second phase of the inoculation campaign, targeting 80,000 to 100,000 people per day.

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