Go for Covid-19 vaccination - WHO official urges Tanzanians

18Oct 2021
Theresia Victor
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Go for Covid-19 vaccination - WHO official urges Tanzanians

​​​​​​​THE World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Tanzania, Dr Tigest Ketsela Mengestu has encouraged Tanzanians to voluntarily get immunized assuring them that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and will help them strengthen body immunity.

Dr Tigest Ketsela Mengestu.

Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, Dr Mengestu said vaccination offers strong immunity which protects against severe and deadly COVID-19.

“Tanzania aims at vaccinating up to 60 per cent of its population and we’re here to support the initiative, this is why we are calling on the public to go and get vaccinated in order to protect our loved ones," he said.

She further noted that there was a notable drop in demand after the initial big demand when the vaccines arrived but since the government and stakeholders embarked on a campaign for COVID -19 vaccines, the uptake has picked up.

“Increased uptake of Covid-19 vaccine resonates with the fact that Tanzania has one of the strongest routine vaccination managed system in Africa with coverage maintained at more than 90 per cent for most vaccines,” she noted

She said WHO is working closely with the ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and health stakeholders to educate the public on the vaccine encouraging them to take shots.

“WHO is spending more than 1bn/- up to December, this year to support COVID-19 vaccine uptake among health care workers, improve knowledge and use of COVID-19 electronic immunization system as well as to see improved demand creation strategies and implementation for COVID-19 vaccination, she explained.

Dr William Mwengee, WHO Tanzania vaccine program manager said a total of 6.5 billion vaccine doses have already been distributed Worldwide  with Africa being able to receive only 3 per cent of them.

“The vaccine has been more widely distributed in developed countries because they have enough experts and laboratories where the vaccines are produced compared to developing countries,” Dr Mwengee said.

He acknowledged that there is a big gap of inequality between developed and developing countries as people in developed countries get priority as the vaccines are being produced in their home land whereas in Africa people need to wait for the vaccines to be distributed in batches.

“Regardless of the inequality, the government and WHO are working together to make sure enough vaccines are being imported so that people can be vaccinated,” he said.

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