Tanzania: Government Should Do More On Vaccine Education

The government needs to work extra hard if it’s to win the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The major task ahead is changing people’s mindsets regarding Covid-19 in general.

Although the government is doing a good job in trying to contain the spread of the disease that is claiming lives globally, a majority of the people seem to be on a totally different page.

Very few believe that Covid-19 is real. The majority think it’s just ‘politics’ and are therefore not following the guidelines to avoid getting or spreading the virus.

Although many are aware that people are being hospitalized and that some are dying from the virus, they still don’t seem to be bothered. Some even believe the disease only affects a section of the population – the rich.

However, we cannot entirely blame citizens for being the doubting Thomases that they are. They were previously made to believe that the country was Covid-free. They were made to believe that the country had won the pandemic battle through prayers and steam inhalations.

For people who were made to believe that the virus no longer existed, the government needs to find good enough reasons to convince them otherwise.

This is probably why President Samia Suluhu Hassan formed a Covid-19 task force when she assumed power following her predecessor’s demise. The task of the committee of experts was to advise the president on the country’s Covid-19 status and the steps to take to contain the disease.

When announcing the creation of the task force in early April, President Hassan said the research was needed to provide answers on whether the disease existed in the country or not.

Among the experts’ recommendations was the need to provide accurate Covid-19 data to the public. Citizens need correct information on the disease so as to take the necessary precautions. The experts also advised the government to provide WHO-approved vaccines, especially to at-risk populations.

Not to be taken lightly

These recommendations should be taken seriously to make people see the need to take the required action. Although the government announced some figures in late June, people are still not convinced they need to take precautions.

Towards the end of June, President Hassan announced that the country had recorded over 100 patients. The following month, the health ministry said there were 682 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the country, with the number of deaths said to be at 29.

Daily updates are needed like the rest of the world is doing. This is important even if no cases will be reported in our health facilities. It will serve the purpose if the health ministry’s promise to provide updates after every two weeks as reported in some sections of the media is affected.

The government has done well by making vaccines available as the experts advised. However, it has a huge task in countering the myths regarding the vaccine. Although the turnout on the first day the vaccine was rolled out was positive, a lot needs to be done to convince the majority that it is safe.

It all boils down to the mindset, which is what government needs to deal with. Experts need to provide the right answers to the many questions that people have.

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