Tanzania has received more than one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in a first for the East African country.

A total of 1,058,450 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Tanzania’s coastal city Dar es Salaam on Saturday, roughly 590km east of the capital Dodoma, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

The vaccines were donated by the US, while the shipment was facilitated through Covax, the global coalition aimed at enhancing equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine and comprised of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI the Vaccine Alliance, Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Tanzania plans to prioritise inoculation of front-line workers, those with comorbidities and those aged over 50 before moving to the rest of the population, local news platform Daily News reported on Sunday.

Dr Dorothy Gwajima, the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, said more vaccines were expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

Under the guidance of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu, who came to power in March following the death of her predecessor and Covid-19 denialist John Magufuli, the East African country applied to join Covax in June, reported the BBC at the time.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke to Samia about “the importance of the ongoing international partnership to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and how the United States can support Tanzania in fighting the pandemic,” according to a statement by spokesperson Ned Price on July 6.

Furthermore, Covid-19 mitigation measures were reinforced by the country’s health authorities on Sunday, reported Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Social gatherings, which include congregations of a religious or political nature, have been banned until the country has controlled the outbreak of Covid-19, said Abel Makubi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.

He added that hand-washing stations and thermal scanners are required in public spaces such as bars and restaurants, and urged citizens to continue wearing masks and adhering to physical distancing.

Gwajima reported 858 patients with Covid-19 and 29 deaths as of Friday, July 23, according to Tanzania’s Daily News.

Editor@tech-talk.co.za

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