Tanzania Ends Covid-19 Denialism by Placing Vaccine Order

Tanzania has submitted a formal request to the Covax facility to receive Covid-19 vaccines, potentially bringing to a close the downplaying of the disease that left the country as one of three in Africa with no plans to inoculate its people.

“Tanzania has submitted to the Covax facility its vaccine request form and is currently preparing a Covid-19 vaccine deployment plan,” said Richard Mihigo, coordinator of the immunization programme at the World Health Organization’s Africa office, on a virtual presentation on Thursday. “We are expecting the vaccines to arrive in the country in the next couple of weeks.”

Tanzania last month asked the International Monetary Fund for a $571 million loan to support the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

To move ahead with the talks, the country will need to publish data on coronavirus infections and deaths, according to an IMF official, something it hasn’t done since May last year.

“We’re strongly encouraging the country now that it’s going to address the situation through vaccinations to share data with us so that we can play the most effective role in assisting Tanzania,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said at the same briefing.

The Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, said it currently has no Covid-19 cases but is working with the mainland government to procure vaccines.

A Covid-19 response committee appointed by Tanzanian President Samia Hassan is expected to make a decision soon on which vaccines to buy and the amount of doses, the Permanent Secretary of Zanzibar’s Health Ministry Omar Shajak said by phone.

WHO is working with Tanzania to develop a response plan to guide the vaccine rollout once the doses are delivered in the country, Mihigo said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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