USAID to continue supporting Tanzania's vaccination drive against COVID-19

Most African countries get their vaccine supplies from Unicef through the vaccine alliance Gavi.

What you need to know:

  • Through the US government’s initiative for Global Vaccine Access, or Global VAX, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) COVID-19 response in Tanzania, is providing $25 million in additional support to accelerate vaccination efforts.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has promised to continue partnering with the Tanzania government in order to achieve the country’s national COVID-19 vaccination goal.

Through the US government’s initiative for Global Vaccine Access, or Global VAX, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) COVID-19 response in Tanzania, is providing $25 million in additional support to accelerate vaccination efforts.

This was said on Saturday, August 20, in Iringa by the mission director for USAID Tanzania Kate Somvongsiri during music concert aimed at educating and sensitizing on the COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

The campaign was organised by the Ministry of Health through Health Promotion unit together with FHI 360 EpiC project with the fund from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

She said that Global VAX funding is supporting activities that include investing in logistics to safely store and transport vaccines, strengthening health care workers ability to support vaccination efforts, monitoring vaccine safety and ensuring hard-to-reach rural populations have access to vaccination.

Somvongsiri added that to date, as the largest vaccine donor to Tanzania, the U.S government has donated more than seven million vaccines, both Johnson &Johnson (Jensen) and Pfizer and now is focusing on getting those shots in arms.

“We are proud and grateful for the efforts made by the government and particularly in Iringa region to reach a current vaccination rate of 44 percent of the eligible population, up from ten percent just over two months ago”.

She also commended the government of Tanzania for reaching a national rate of 51 percent of the eligible population adding that, it is a huge achievement especially when looking back to the national vaccination rate of 15% just over two months ago.

“But there is more work to do to reach the 70 percent  target, and we will not rest until every eligible person is vaccinated…,” Somvongsiri said that USAID is looking forward to continue working together with the government and the people of Tanzania to reach collective goals.

Vaccines are proven to prevent disease transmission that will keep Tanzanians safe from this continuing threat, and are one of the best tools to fight the COVID 19 pandemic. The activities include communicating about health risks and combating mis-and dis- information about COVID 19, enhancing communities’ abilities to prevent and control infections.

The Chief Medical Officer of Iringa Region (RMO), Dr. Mohamed Mang'una giving the status of vaccination in Iringa region, said that Iringa region is one of the regions in the country that is continuing with the exercise of vaccination of COVID-19 in order to protect the people against the corona disease.

He said that since President Samia Suluhu Hassan launched the campaign of vaccination against COVID-19, August 2021 at national level, Iringa Region supported the launch and launched the campaign on August 4, 2021 and until May this year, the region has vaccinated approximately 76,632 people which is equivalent to 44 per cent of the regions target.

‘Since the month of May this year, we launch a campaign to sensitize and educate the public on the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 in collaboration with stakeholders such as FHI360 EpiC project’ said Dr Mang’una.

Speaking at the same event, the Director of Public Health Education, from the Ministry of Health, Dr. Amalberga Kasangala, commended USAID for its contribution to the government in vaccination support.

Dr. Kasangala also congratulated other development stakeholders, including FHI 360, for supporting the government's efforts in terms of community participation and ensuring that they get vaccinated.

Dr. Kasangala added that through the four-month campaign, they have been able to reach 51 percent of vaccinations in Tanzania Mainland and Islands (Zanzibar) and by December, they are determined to reach 70 percent of the vaccination rate as the World Health Organization (WHO) wants.

In Tanzania, FHI 360 EpiC builds the capacity of both national and local governments to deliver integrated health and social services that address the country’s most pressing human development challenges.

FHI 360 Country Director Waziri Nyoni said that FHI 360 partners with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to support systems strengthening, build capacity and develop national strategies, guidelines and tools for improving the delivery of public-sector programs.

Nyoni said that at the community level, FHI 360 works with civil society and private-sector partners to promote resource mobilization and the fiscal and programmatic accountability of community-based organizations and local government authorities.