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As Uganda gets Covidex, Tanzania takes step to manufacture Covid-19 vaccine

Some Covid-19 vials. PHOTO/COURTESY

The Citizen, Tanzania | As Uganda approved the use of Covidex Herbal Medicine for the treatment of Coronavirus and other viral infections, the government of Tanzania is pondering local manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines in an attempt to reduce importation costs.

Health Permanent Secretary Prof Abel Makubi said in Dodoma on Sunday that the factory would manufacture vaccines for Covid-19 and other diseases.

“We have a lot of experts. We will make it. We will not only produce Covid-19 vaccines but also those [vaccines] for other diseases so that even when the pandemic ends, Tanzania will still have the capacity of producing such medicines locally,” said Prof Makubi.

He said the government had no intention of selling vaccines to the public. It would neither allow anyone to import them against procedures.

On May 17, 2021 President Samia Suluhu Hassan received a report by a special committee of experts that she formed in April to professionally evaluate the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country.

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Among other things, the team, chaired by Prof Said Aboud, recommended that the government should allow voluntary vaccination and resume releasing statistics related to the pandemic.

And on June 4, the committee formed to advise the government on the way forward regarding the management of the pandemic, handed another report detailing how Tanzania can mobilize resources to control Covid-19 as well as the proposals for the vaccination strategy.

Speaking on Monday, June 28, 2021, in Dar es Salaam during her maiden press conference in the capacity of head of state, President Hassan said the government will spend at least $470 million on its fight against the pandemic.

While half of the money will be spent on buying protective equipment and medicines, the remaining half will be spent on bailing out sectors that had been severely affected by Covid-19.

She said Tanzania had registered for the WHO-backed Covax facility and that it will administer the Covid-19 vaccine in the near future.

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*Written by Bethsheba Wambura

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