As countries in the East African Community (EAC) rush to order doses of Covid-19 vaccines, Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has dismissed the products as ineffective.
Speaking during the launch of a public forest in Chato, Geita Region on Wednesday, Magufuli, who has been on the spot since last year over the country’s unconventional approach in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, asked Tanzanians to be prayerful to keep the virus at bay.
Some of the vaccines that have been recommended in the fight against the virus include Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines.
The Head of State maintained that traditional healing practices had proved effective in saving lives in Tanzania as Covid-19 continues to ravage the world.
Tanzanians, he said, do not need to quarantine or self-isolate.
“Sitatangaza ata siku moja kuwa tunajifungia ndani kwa sababau mungu wetu yuko hai na ataendelea kutulinda watanzania lakini pia tutatendelaea kuchukua tahadhari zingine za kiafya zikiwa ni pamoja na kujifukizia huku unamwomba mungu na kupiga zoezi la kulima mahindi na viazi ili ule vizuri ushibe corona ishindwe kuingia kwenye mwili wako. Mtatishwa sana ndugu zangu watanzainia lakini simama imara, ” he said.
Magufuli claimed that a South African coronavirus variant that was recently reported in the country was brought by people who had received the Covid-19 vaccine elsewhere.
“Ninajua wapo baaadhi ya watanzania ata wameondoka ndani ya nchi na kukimbilia maeneo mengine na kuenda kuchanjwa na walipochanjwa huko wametuletea corona za ajabu ajabu. Chanjo hazifai!” he exclaimed.
“Kama Wazungu wangekuwa na uwezo wa kuleta chanjo, hata chanjo ya Ukimwi ingeshaletwa…hata chanjo ya cancer ingekuwa imepatikana. Lazima Watanzania tuwe waangalifu kwa mambo ya kuletewa letewa, msije mkafikiria mnapendwa sana. Taifa hili ni tajiri, Afrika ni tajiri, kila mmoja anaitamani.”
The president directed the Health Ministry to only adopt vaccinations after they had been certified by Tanzania’s own experts.
He claimed that there is a country, which he didn’t name, where 14-year-old girls were vaccinated against what was said to be cervical cancer, but it later emerged that the vaccination was meant to make them infertile.
Magufuli’s remarks come just days after two travellers from Tanzania tested positive for the South African coronavirus variant in Denmark.
Last Friday, the United Kingdom banned travellers from Tanzania as part of efforts to control the spread of the South African virus variant in the country.
Whereas most countries in the East African region have continued to make details on Covid-19 situation public, Tanzania’s last update on the respiratory disease was in late April last year. Then, there were at least 509 infections and 21 fatalities.