President John Pombe Magufuli (pictured) has warned Tanzania’s health officials against rushing to acquire Covid-19 vaccines because they could be harmful to the individuals’ health.
Speaking during the launch of a public forest in Chato, Geita Region on Wednesday, President Magufuli called for caution in accepting Covid-19 vaccinations because the citizens ‘could be used as guinea pigs.’
#UZINDUZISHAMBALAMITICHATO Natoa rai kwa Wizara ya Afya isiwe inakimbilia chanjo bila yenyewe kujiridhisha, sio kila chanjo ni ya maana kwa taifa letu,tutafanyiwa majaribio yatakayoleta madhara makubwa - Rais @MagufuliJP #MI5TENAKAZIZAIDI — Msemaji Mkuu wa Serikali (@TZMsemajiMkuu) January 27, 2021
“You should stand firm. Vaccinations are not needed. If the white men were able to come up with vaccinations, they would have found a vaccination for Aids, even the vaccination for tuberculosis, malaria and cancer would have been found by now,” Magufuli said.
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He added: “The ministry of health should be careful, they should not hurry to try these vaccines without doing research, not every vaccine is important to us, we should be careful. We should not be used as ‘guinea pigs.”
The Head of State accused a section of Tanzanians who had traveled to other countries to be vaccinated had brought different coronavirus strains to the country, which he declared coronavirus free last year.
#UZINDUZISHAMBALAMITICHATO Mtatishwa sana lakini simameni imara, ninajua wapo baadhi ya Watanzania wameondoka nchini wamekimbilia maeneo mengine kufuata chanjo na wamerudi wametuletea Corona ya ajabu ajabu, simameni imara, chanjo hazifai - @MagufuliJP #MI5TENAKAZIZAIDI— Msemaji Mkuu wa Serikali (@TZMsemajiMkuu) January 27, 2021
Magufuli has been criticised on several occasions for how he downplayed coronavirus in his county. In June last year, he claimed the prayers had helped kick the virus out of the East African country.
“The corona disease has been eliminated thanks to God,” Magufuli told worshippers in a church in Dodoma.
This was months after he criticised Covid-19 test kits used in Tanzania claiming they were faulty because they had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and pawpaw.
He hinted that some people tested positive for the virus even though they were not infected.
The government then stopped publishing data on the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
On 29 April, the last day official data was released, there were 509 confirmed cases and 21 deaths in Tanzania.