Did Tanzania and Burundi Reject COVID-19 Vaccines from COVAX?

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The above is a screengrab of a tweet claiming that Burundi and Tanzania have rejected COVID-19 vaccines and did not make any bid to COVAX.

Background

The struggle for acquiring COVID-19 vaccines continues with rich countries making big orders at the expense of poorer ones. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has criticised the rich countries for hoarding the vaccines insisting that the behaviour would only prolong the pandemic.

COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator which was launched in April by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France in response to this pandemic. The accelerator is a global collaboration whose aim is to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO.

COVAX is working on providing vaccines for low-income countries who cannot afford these vaccines as well as higher-income self-financing countries that have no bilateral deals with manufacturers.

Verification

According to Anadolu Agency (AA), Tanzania and Burundi have been excluded from African countries set to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This as the WHO announced that COVAX aims to ship about 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa in February.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that Burundi had said they do not need the vaccines. Burundi’s Health Minister Thaddee Ndikumana told reporters that prevention is more important. The minister was quoted saying that, “since more than 95% of patients are recovering, we estimate that the vaccines are not yet necessary.”

Tanzania’s president John Maghufuli said that Tanzania had conquered the pandemic and that test kits showing positive results were faulty. In a press briefing on February one, Tanzania’s Health minister Dr Dorothy Gwajima told journalists that the ministry does not have plans of procuring the COVID -19 vaccine which is already in use in other countries.

Verdict

The claim that Burundi and Tanzania have said that they do not need COVID-19 vaccines and have not made a bid to COVAX is therefore TRUE.

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Moffin Njoroge

Moffin is passionate about data and strives to find patterns, stories and leads by analyzing and interpreting datasets.