President John Magufuli claims, without evidence, that COVID-19 vaccines are “dangerous”.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli has claimed COVID-19 vaccinations are dangerous and instead urged Tanzanians to protect themselves from the deadly disease by using national measures, including steam inhalation.
Magufuli has long played down the severity of COVID-19, which has killed more than 2.1 million people worldwide. He previously interrogates the effectiveness of imported COVID tests and urged people to pray for protection from the coronavirus.
The president has resisted the imposition of strict lockdowns to contain the virus and his government has been criticized for being kept secret about the outbreak in the East African country, which has not released official statistics on the virus. COVID-19 for more than six months.
“Vaccinations are dangerous. If white people were able to get vaccinated, an AIDS vaccine would have been found, a tuberculosis vaccine could have eliminated it now; a malaria vaccine has reportedly been found; a cancer vaccine has reportedly already been found, ”Magufuli said in a speech Wednesday in his hometown of Chato, northwestern Tanzania.
He also urged the health ministry to be careful with vaccines developed overseas.
The president has offered no evidence to support his doubts about the safety of vaccinations, which are administered through more than 50 countries, according to Our World in Data, after obtaining regulatory approval.
Magufuli’s warning comes a day after the Catholic Church in Tanzania issued an alert on an increase in suspected COVID-19 infections in the country. In a letter to church leaders, the president of the Episcopal Conference (CET) warned of a possible new wave of infections.
TEC secretary Father Charles Kitima told media that the Catholic Church had noticed an unusually large increase in the number of funeral services organized. He said that there used to be one or two Requiem Masses per week in the urban parishes, but now they run the Masses daily.
Since the apparent resurgence of cases, Magufuli has sent mixed messages to the public, sometimes urging people to follow expert advice, but also poking fun at those who wear masks to slow the spread of the virus.
Despite anecdotal evidence suggesting a potential resurgence in infections, there are no official figures to indicate how widespread it could be, as the Department of Health has stopped releasing regular updates on COVID statistics in last April.
Tanzania has reported 509 COVID-19 infections and 21 deaths in total, according to data from the World Health Organization.