The question whether or not Covid-19 jabs are voluntary in Tanzania

Sunday August 01 2021
Jabs pic
By Rosemary Mirondo
By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania has already launched mass vaccination against Covid-19, and the matter is purely voluntary.

As the rollout is expected in all regions from Tuesday, the discussion has been whether vaccinations against Covid-19 will remain voluntary anymore to all people at all times.

READ: Ministry of health names health centers to provide Covid-19 vaccine

Some commentators argue that some people will have no option other than vaccinating, due to nature of their activities and the different rules in every jurisdiction, whereby entry into some countries and territories without verification of having taken the jabs would be impossible.

Transport and business community are of the view that while the jabs are voluntary, a majority will look at what is convenient for them.

However, the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (Taffa) says that it was seeking a dialogue with Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) to identify a smooth way of getting the shots for those who opt to do so.

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The statement comes a few days after the government identified 550 health centres across the mainland which will be used for vaccination.

According to the Health ministry, the vaccination targets three groups in the beginning, including health workers, people above the age of 50 and people with underlying conditions.

“At the beginning when the pandemic started a majority of countries required the Covid-19 certificate but going forward they may opt for a vaccine certificate, leaving it to individuals to decide where they stand. A person may decide to stop travelling due to the conditions which is still a good thing,” said transport expert Octavian Kivyrio.

READ: 60 percent of Tanzanians to be vaccinated

He said the government would continue to create awareness about vaccinations and to top it all the public should continue to listen to expert advice to make informed decisions.

Tanzania Bus Owners Association (Taboa) spokesman Mustafa Mwalongo said their drivers were ready to be inoculated and were currently waiting for the programme to start.

“The public should stop listening to social media information and instead listen to expert advice,” he said.

He noted that despite the vaccinations being voluntary they had not received any information that any of the drivers was not ready to get the jabs.

READ: Samia trashes wrong info on vaccines, receives a jab

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation’s Policy, Research, Advocacy an Lobbying director Andrew Mahiga said the vaccination was voluntary and since most businesses involved travelling from one country to another, they would decide individually what option was best for them.

“But it should be noted that not all the countries demand for a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. We travelled recently to Burundi and they asked for a test certificate when going and when coming back,” he said.

In view of that, he said just a few countries demand for vaccination, so the business will decide what is easier for them.

Taffa president Edward Urio said their members supported the decision to vaccinate because a majority of its members had to travel both locally and internationally.

“It’s well known that in the last one year and some months, the world has had to do their dialogues via Zoom, but things are now changing, forcing people to travel to conduct the meetings,” he said.

He noted that they expected to meet with TPSF to identify a smooth way for its members that have volunteered to be vaccinated.