PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday led government officials and religious leaders in taking Covid-19 jab, saying the vaccine was safe and that many Tanzanians have shown their readiness to get it.
The exercise was held at the State House in Dar es Salaam with President Samia noting that the government would make sure the vaccine is available for all Tanzanians, who are willing to be vaccinated.
This comes hardly five days after the arrival of 1,058,400 doses of the vaccines donated by the United States of America. The government intends to vaccinate around 60 per cent of the population.
To ensure adequate supply and accessibility of the vaccine in the country, President Samia said the government has also placed an additional order from the African Union (AU), through Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"As vaccination exercises kicks off today (yesterday), the government is aware that the available vaccine isn't enough, therefore, we have already placed another order," said the Head of State shortly before betting the jab.
President Samia also explained that she was aware of that some Tanzanians from the business community had taken the vaccine, elsewhere due to travel requirements, adding: "There was nothing wrong with that... because some were vaccinated in Dubai and South Africa, when there was no platform of acquiring it in our country."
Elaborating, she noted that the government had also to consider the requests from the international community, including he Embassy of China and those who are working with the United Nations (UN) agencies in the country, as they applied for the permits to import the vaccines for their staff and foreign nationals.
By then, Tanzania was yet to decide whether to import the vaccine or not, as a result, those foreign nationals were denied a right to travel back to their countries, only for not being vaccinated.
"Tanzania is not an island, hence, there is no way we can distance ourselves from the rest of the world, we still need interaction and our people have to keep on traveling," she noted, insisting that the exercise is voluntary, but the government would continue providing public awareness and education on its importance.
Adding: "The vaccines is so safe, that is why I have decided to take this shot, as you know, I'm a mother of four children, a grandmother, wife and above all, the President and Commander-In- Chief of the armed forces, there is no way I can put my life at risk of being inoculated if the vaccine weren't safe".
President Samia also commended the US government through its embassy in Tanzania for supporting the country with 1,058,400 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccines.
Some other government officials including the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma, Chief Secretary Ambassador Hussein Katanga, Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Venance Mabeyo, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro and the former Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda also took the shots.
Others who took the shot were the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Dorothy Gwajima, religious leaders including the Head of Tanzania Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCT) Bishop Dr Frederick Shoo, Archbishop Jude Thadaeus Ruwa'ichi of Dar es Salaam Diocese, Mufti Sheikh Abubakar Zuberi and some others.
Speaking to the Director General of Africa CDC Dr John Nkengason on Tuesday, President Samia said Tanzania has been taking a number of measures to fight the pandemic, including formation of a special team of experts to study the situation locally and globally and proposed remedies.
"Tanzania has also joined the Covax facility for the sake of benefiting from the available opportunities that include accessibility of the vaccines," she said