Tanzania’s president has kicked off her nation’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign by publicly receiving a dose and urging others to do the same.
The Johnson & Johnson shot that President Samia Suluhu Hassan received Wednesday represented a major breakthrough for one of the world’s last countries to embrace coronavirus vaccines. Under her predecessor, the East African country’s government had long worried African health officials by dismissing the risks posed by the global pandemic.
Tanzania went well over a year without updating its number of confirmed virus cases. Since Hassan took over the presidency, the country has changed course.
In June, Tanzania also joined the global COVAX scheme for sharing vaccines with poorer nations, culminating in the delivery of a first batch of 1.06 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week.
“We will make sure our country has enough vaccines for those who are willing to be vaccinated,” Hassan told a launch ceremony, before taking her jab in front of the cameras.
–From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 8:30 a.m. ET
What’s happening in Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early Wednesday morning, more than 195.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.1 million.
In Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged caution on Wednesday about drawing conclusions from a seven-day decline in COVID-19 cases in Britain, saying it was too early to assess whether it was a definite trend.
“We have seen some encouraging recent data. There’s no question about that but it is far, far too early to draw any general conclusions,” Johnson told LBC radio.
Meanwhile, Ireland became the latest European Union member state to commit to offering COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12-15 as it opened its strongly subscribed program to 16- and 17-year-olds on Tuesday.
In the Americas, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should go back to wearing masks in indoor public places in regions where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, U.S. health authorities said, citing concern about the more transmissible delta variant. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, is considering whether to require U.S. federal employees to be vaccinated.
U.S. CDC calls for masks in areas of high COVID-19 transmission, even for fully vaccinated <a href=”https://t.co/9QgiX6yeDG”>https://t.co/9QgiX6yeDG</a> <a href=”https://t.co/VFW9DZTs2x”>pic.twitter.com/VFW9DZTs2x</a>
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Australian city of Sydney extended a lockdown by four weeks after an already protracted stay-at-home order failed to douse a COVID-19 outbreak.
In the Middle East, Israel is considering giving a third shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to its elderly population, even before FDA approval, to help fend off the delta variant.
In Africa, South Africa plans to offer about $2.44 billion US in support to businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19 restrictions and recent unrest, the finance ministry said on Wednesday. The hard-hit country on Tuesday reported 7,773 new cases and 370 additional deaths.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 8:40 a.m. ET
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