Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Wednesday publicly received her first dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, saying vaccine is not a disaster but a health protection.
“I am a mother of four children, a grandmother, a wife and am the President and Commander in Chief of the Tanzanian armed forces,” she said shortly before taking the jab.
The President said the vaccine is safe to take, insisting she has voluntarily agreed to be vaccinated not to mention several other vaccines she took before.
President Samia’s administration has set a goal of over 35 million Covid-19 vaccinations about 60 per cent of the population.
Over one million of Johnson & Johnson vaccines donated by the US government have been imported into Tanzania under the COVAX facility.
Government officials said the consignment was equivalent to 20 per cent of the national target.
President Samia announced that the government was coordinating approaches to import more jabs.
On Tuesday Tanzania applied for more South African manufactured—Johnson and Johnson vaccine through the African Union.
“We are making every effort to ensure those volunteering are vaccinated,” the president said at the official launch of the vaccination cautioning that there could be minor side effects.
President Samia officially joins the world political leaders getting the jab.
Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Dorothy Gwajima described the vaccine as “a modern weapon to confront the disease.” She called the general public to have faith in the vaccines.
The minister said the government will work with health expert to respond to all concerns currently being raised by critics of the vaccines to have a common understanding.
She admitted that all medicine and vaccines have minor hiccups.
The heath minister explained that the vaccines could have reactions such as nausea and headache depending with recipients but generally “it is safe.”
According to the Health Minister, Health experts in Tanzania have also analyzed other vaccines; Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and Moderna that are also expected to be imported and administered in the country.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said he agreed to a single jab to show Tanzanians that the government did not bring vaccine that could destroy the people.
The National Coronavirus vaccine committee will meet on Friday to review and set strategies to rollout the national mass vaccination program.