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Tanzania on list of countries set to get Dutch vaccine donation

Wednesday July 21 2021
Vaccine pic

A person receives an AstraZeneca vaccine jab. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. The Netherlands has shown promise to include Tanzania in its donation of 745, 000 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines intended forto people in low and middle income countries.

In an official statement, the Dutch government said the vaccines, which are currently refrigerated in stock at Oss city, will also be made available to countries that have appealed for donation including Namibia.

However, the Tanzanian government has said there has yet to be an official communication between the two countries regarding the matter, as formal procedure for vaccination donation is already issued by the ministry of Health.

Speaking to The Citizen, Tanzania’s chief medical officer (CMO), Dr Aifello Sichalwe, said though they have yet to receive formal communication about the donations, the government has made clear guidelines to donor countries regarding Covid-19 vaccines.

“The government released version one of the guidelines on Covid-19 vacciness stating what should be considered when receiving or requesting donation for Covid-19 vaccines,” he said.

According to the guideline, the government has allowed religious institutions, private hospitals and other organisations to receive donations to vaccinate their communities, by following the state’s outlined considerations.

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One is that all institutions, companies or organisations that intend to donate the vaccine to the government, should first consult the ministry of Healthand second is that all donated Covid-19 vaccines must abide by donation guidelines and Financial Act, Cap.134 on government loans, grants and guarantee.

The donated vaccination must also be approved by Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) before their importation into the country.

The Health ministry also stated that it will only accept donations of vaccines that are under WHO emergency Use listing, and exceptions will be made depending on the country’s need.

If the donor or receiving institution is other than the government, then they must incur all costs of clearance, to avoid delayed clearance of donated vaccines, the ministry document stated.

So far, in procuring vaccinations for the country the government recently said it has already sent a request to the Covax facility, which is a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

An official statement from the Health ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Prof Abel Makubi, said the government expects that four types of vacciness will start arriving in the next three to four months.

“Vaccines will start to be given to people at risk of infection as health workers, pilgrims, essential workers and frequent travellers while the next batch is expected in December. this year,” he stated.

However, by July 6, 2021, Zanzibar had started giving the first dose of the vaccine jab to health workers and front line workers who are at a higher risk of the virus.

According to the Health, Social Welfare, Gender, the Elderly and Children permanent secretary in Zanzibar, Dr Omar Dadi Shajak, the vaccine administered to the health workers is funded by the Zanzibar government.

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