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Keep Healthy And Hygienical, Tanzania Government Tells Citizens As It Rules Out Covid-19 Vaccination

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

Africa | Tanzania February 2, 2021

Government of Tanzania has said it has no plans for vaccinating its population against covid-19 probably for the time being. Instead, the government has recommended to its citizens to observe good personal hygiene through washing hands with detergents as well as to keep healthy through eating health foods and exercising, among others. That was reported by some Tanzanian media on February 1, 2021.

Tanzania is among a few countries in the world that never have had nationwide lockdown since the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. The East African nation has, instead, adopted less restrictive measures for containing covid-19 that include nationwide public awareness campaign about how covid-19 can be defeated through good personal hygiene, keeping healthy, etc.

This approach by Tanzania to combat the coronavirus pandemic reportedly raised eyebrows and criticisms from other African countries that embarked on countrywide lockdowns despite their rather few coronavirus cases. Now again they are said to be astonished by the current stance of Tanzania as regards covid-19 vaccination of its population, as themselves are busy preparing to do that.

Notwithstanding, one wonders why other countries are so stunned by Tanzania’s stance. The East African country’s official reported coronavirus cases, so far, are only 509. With its vast population of over 58 million, mass vaccination against covid-19 would therefore be highly questionable by serious medical experts. After all, available covid-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use only, and currently covid-19 is not an emergency in Tanzania.

But then, even for many of the African countries planning to mass vaccination against covid-19, attainment of herd immunity, hence eradicate the disease, may be elusive anyway. That is because vaccination programs are likely to take long periods of time, spanning several years, due to inadequate access to vaccines, and that immunity triggered by covid-19 vaccines is non-permanent and lasts only several months. Let us elaborate this with example of Nigeria.

Nigeria reportedly plans to attain herd immunity against covid-19 by vaccinating 70% of its population in two phases spanning two years. Phase one entails vaccinating 40% of the population in 2021, while phase two entails vaccinating 30% of the population in 2022. Given limited duration of immunity from vaccines mentioned earlier, by 2022 when Nigeria embarks on its phase two vaccination, some of the people who were vaccinated in phase 1 in 2021 would have already lost their acquired immunity against covid-19 hence probably susceptible to symptomatic covid-19. So, viewed in this way, by the time Nigeria completes its phase two mass vaccination in 2022, a lot less than the expected 70% of its population would have immunity against covid-19, hence no herd immunity on sight!

To attain herd immunity in any country, duration of vaccination program should be less than that of immunity triggered by vaccines that are used.

Herd immunity is attained when at least 60% of a population is immunized against a disease, naturally or through vaccination.


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