Dar es Salaam — Tanzania has received 500,000 Sinopharm doses of Covid-19 vaccine as a donation from China as the East African country ups its vaccination campaign with a view to inoculating at least 60 percent of its nigh-60 million population.
Experts say if at least 60 percent of the population gets vaccinated – and people observe other preventive measures against the pandemic – the country was likely to be free from Covid-19.
Tanzania received 1,058,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccines from the US government in July. President Samia Suluhu Hassan was the first to receive the vaccination in July and since then, all the J&J doses have since been administered.
The second batch of Covid-19 vaccines was availed last month when the country received 1,065,600 doses of Sinopharm through the Covax facility.
Thus, yesterday’s 500,000 doses of Sinopharm jabs, received as donation from China, brings the total number of Covid-19 doses to have been received in the country to 2.624 million.
Health minister Dorothy Gwajima said yesterday that the government was currently administering the jabs to every Tanzanian not less than 18 years old.
After exhausting the J&J on October 19, the government immediately started administering Sinopharm, noting that so far a total of 88,540 people have received this vaccine.
“We have already set some strategies to start the distribution of 500,000 Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible to enable us vaccinate 60 percent of Tanzania’s population in the fight against the pandemic,” she said.
Dr Gwajima said in China, 80 percent of the population, has been vaccinated, putting the Asian country on the list of the countries that have defeated Covid-19.
She said Tanzanians were responding well to the campaigns, adding that the situation was very encouraging in 10 regions.
The regions with the highest number of vaccinated population include Mbeya, Kagera Ruvuma, Dodoma, Arusha, Mwanza, Songwe and Mara.
She urged leaders in their various spheres to provide awareness campaigns so that Tanzanians can go for the jabs.
Chinese ambassador to Tanzania Chen Mingjian said the donation of the 500,000 Covid-19 vaccination doses was significant to support the country to fight the pandemic and the spread of coronavirus.
“Due to the long good friendship from our forefathers of both countries, China is ready to provide more anti pandemic vaccines and provide technology in order to assist Tanzania to manufacture the vaccine locally,” she said.