Tanzania’s health ministry says it has no plans in place to accept COVID-19 vaccines.
This comes just days after the president of the country of 60 million people expressed doubt about the vaccines without offering evidence.
Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima told a press conference in the capital, Dodoma, on Monday that the ministry has no plans to receive vaccines for COVID-19.
She said Any vaccines must receive ministry approval. It is not clear when any vaccines might arrive, though Tanzania is eligible for the COVAX global effort aimed at delivering doses to low- and middle-income countries.
The health minister insisted Tanzania is safe. During a presentation in which she and others didn’t wear face masks, she encouraged the public to improve hygiene practices including the use of sanitizers but also steam inhalation — which has been dismissed by health experts elsewhere as a way to kill the coronavirus.
Chief government chemist Fidelice Mafumiko also suggested the use of herbal medicine to cure COVID-19.
President John Magufuli, who has long asserted that God has eliminated COVID-19 in Tanzania, last week asserted that vaccines for it are “inappropriate” even as the first significant vaccine deliveries begin to arrive on the African continent.