Tanzania received its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday with the delivery of 1 million injections from Johnson & Johnson as part of a donation from the US government. After the late president of the African nation resisted for long time to accept doses.
The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania announced in a press release that Donald Wright, the United States ambassador to the East African country, had received the shipment in the main commercial port city of Dar es Salaam.
The donation is part of the Biden administration’s commitment first announced last month to donate 25 million coronavirus vaccines abroad, partially through the COVAX Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The embassy said the doses of the vaccine came through COVAX on Saturday, with Wright saying in comments that the donation will help Tanzania emerge from the pandemic and economic hardships that ravaged the country as a result of the virus.
“The United States is helping to lift the world out of this pandemic, building a world that is safer and protected against the threat of infectious diseases,” said the ambassador. “All countries, regardless of income level, need vaccines that meet rigorous standards for safety and efficacy.”
“We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and lead the world to end the pandemic,” he continued. “Sharing these vaccines also serves as another example of the strength of our 60-year partnership and our commitment to Tanzania.”
Wright cited earlier comments from President BidenJoe BidenBiden Authorizes Up To $ 0 Million For Afghan Refugees Poll: 73 Percent Of Democratic Voters Would Consider Voting For Biden In 2024 Primary Biden Shows Presidential Strength In Election Campaign With McAuliffe Of Virginia MORE, who said the United States “is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”
Until his death in March, the President of Tanzania John Magufuli had repeatedly refused to accept vaccine donations, calling into question the severity of COVID-19, as well as the need for social distancing rules and mask mandates.
Magufuli, who was serving a second five-year sentence at the time of his death, also claimed last June that a three-day sentence had rid the country of the virus.
His official cause of death disclosed by state officials was heart failure.
Magufuli’s vice president, Samai Suluhu Hassan, took over as head of the country in March, becoming the first female president of Tanzania and reversing her predecessor’s position of repeated denial of COVID-19.