Tanzania’s new president launched a coronavirus vaccination drive in one of the last countries in the world to start inoculating its people, reversing the policies of its deeply Covid-sceptic late leader John Magufuli.
The East African nation had until recently been an outlier in the global fight to tackle the coronavirus – resisting measures such as wearing masks, curfews and lockdowns.
Former president John Magufuli was one of a handful of leaders who dismissed the gravity of the pandemic and shunned foreign-made vaccines in favour of the healing power of prayer.
But since Magufuli’s death in March, his successor President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been promoting measures to curb the spread of the virus in the country of 58 million people.
The mass vaccine rollout started with Hassan, 61, getting her jab after a ceremony broadcast live on television in the financial capital Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania will give priority to special groups of frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying diseases.
It received just over one million single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines from Covax, the global initiative that seeks to provide equitable access to doses for lower-income countries.