Dar es Salaam. Tanzanians have responded positively to Covid-19 vaccination that took effect yesterday to the special groups of frontline workers, the elderly, and those with underlying health issues.
The vaccination are from the 1,058,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which was received as the first phase of the government arrangement with the Covax facility.
Government arrangements with Covax are to receive enough doses (nearly 11 million) to vaccinate up to 20 percent of the population.
The Health ministry’s Public Health Officer, Dr Tumaini Haonga said that, since President Samia Suluhu Hassan launched nationwide inoculation, there has been frantic demand for the jab across the country, a positive sign in the fight against Covid-19.
Dr Haonga said - without telling actual numbers - that there has been a positive turnout observed at the established inoculations centres across the country. At the ministry site also people have been pouring applications and requests for appointments.
“There is demand for vaccination, and if it persists then the government might soon order a new phase of the vaccinations, even on social media the issue has been discussed positively,” he said.
The country’s commercial hub, Dar es Salaam - which received 160,000 vaccine doses - has shown a good response according to the Region’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rashid Mfaume.
“Over 10,000 people have already booked to get vaccines and we are afraid the jabs will be finished soon,” he said.
In addition, the regional commissioner, Amos Makalla, has also announce that the region is set to start observing protocol at public transport including level seats and mass masking and social distancing.
“Due to challenges students faces on public transports, I allow daladalas to carry only five students who will stand but on the condition that they must wear masks,” he said.
Meanwhile, scores of editors and journalists and wives of political leaders also turned up at Karimjee Hall in the city yesterday to receive the jab as they decided to lead by example in spearheading the Covid-19 vaccine message.
Gracing the event yesterday, Ms Mary Malajiwa - the spouse of Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa - called on the public to vaccinate so that they can build the immunity they require to effectively ward off coronavirus.
“We meet in many gatherings for different events making us prone to the pandemic, and therefore imperative to take the vaccine to be safe,” she said.
Mrs Tunu Pinda - the wife of former Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda - said she was vaccinated last week together with the President, and she was healthy with no repercussions.
“I call on the wives of all leaders to receive the jab so they can be good ambassadors and tell the public about the importance of the vaccination,” she said.
For her part, a representative of the Chief Medical Officer, Victoria Mura, hailed all those who came forward for the vaccination.
“We have been hearing a lot of things in social media but my call is to listen to health experts and make informed decisions,” she said.
She called on all health workers to identify people who have been prioritised, including health workers, the elderly and people with underlining diseases.
Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) chairman Deodatus Balile said editors and journalist work on the frontline, and need to be vaccinated to protect themselves and others as they meet with people from all walks of life including patients in hospitals and other people in the society.
“We thank the government for giving us this opportunity to be vaccinated, because it makes us safe and also protects people close to us,” he said.
The Mwananchi Communications Ltd Managing Director, Bakari Machumu, said people in business believe they can prosper if they are healthy.
“Taking too long to get the vaccination will only defeat the purpose of surmounting the pandemic,” he said.
Over 900 people have requested the vaccinations in Dodoma Region, which received 50,000 doses.
Regional commissioner Anthony Mtaka said the government has established 28 vaccination centres in Dodoma.