Tanzania: Dar Seeks to Attain 'Herd Immunity

AS Tanzania yesterday embarked on voluntary Covid-19 vaccination exercise, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children said the rigorous immunization will help to arrive at the so-called 'herd immunity,' thus cut down unnecessary infections and deaths in the country.

According to the World Health Organization, 'herd immunity', also known as 'population immunity', is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens, when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.

"The reason most countries undergoing Covid- 19 vaccination not reaching the herd immunity is owed to the fact that the 60 per cent threshold has not been attained," said the Minister for Health,Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Dorothy Gwajima.

Dr Gwajima made the revelation at the kick off of the vaccination exercise that was launched by President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the State House in Dar es Salaam.

She noted that, arriving at the target will help to yield major positive results citing that Africa has only immunized two percent of its population, making it difficult to halt the spread of the pandemic.

Besides, countries like the US and Europe at one time recorded between 3000 and 4000 deaths daily, but through rigorous vaccination, they have deserted lockdowns, people no longer wear masks during football matches and social gatherings and economic activities have returned to normal.

She urged religious leaders among others to raise awareness on the importance of immunization as a crucial weapon in the fight against the ailment.

On the other hand, she said, the ministry is committed to continue raising awareness physically or technological means on every doorstep for its people to have right knowledge, while making the decisions with regard to taking the Covid-19 jabs. Dr Gwajima said the awareness campaign will among other things; enlighten people on the issue of consent which has long existed in all health operations across the world, but for unknown reasons not operational in Tanzania.

In line to this, Tanzania is not new in the area of immunization like the Covid-19 vaccine; the country has in the past welcomed similar criticism with regard to other vaccines which turned out to be effective in eradicating various stubborn diseases.

"As of July 27, this year a total of 3.9 billion of the various Covid-19 vaccines had been issued in different parts of the world reaping benefits including reducing the severity of the virus, seeing admission going down for patients demanding ventilators and Covid-19 related deaths," stressed the Minister.

She further said the ministry will soon avail scientific data on the effectiveness of the vaccines globally and specifically in the African continent.

The minister further said: "Over 95 percent of all African countries are embarking on immunization programmes for its citizens.

"As the inoculation exercise kicks off in the country, the health ministry has in hand its own National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (Ndvp) for Covid- 19 Vaccine... we have build awareness for our districts and regional medical officers, who have already prepared their strategic plans and outlined centers for the issuance of the services.

Equally, it will give room for people to understand that the Johnson and Johnson single shot has already been administered to over 8 million people in the United States as of July 27 and to other 50 countries worldwide.

"Regarding the rumors that the vaccines have been halted in other countries... it's all false; all the issues that transpired in the past were resolved long before receiving the jabs.

Tanzanians should devise a habit of acquiring the right information through reading... everything can be obtained from the internet," Dr Gwajima pointed out.

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