How HJFMRI-T supported Covid-19 vaccination during the 2022 Agriculture Fair

IF you are to count the success of the recently concluded Agriculture Exhibitions, famously known as ‘Nane Nane’ expo, there is no way that contributions of health service providers will be left behind.

The eight days event that was held at John Mwakangale grounds in Mbeya that was opened by Vice-President, Dr Philip Mpango and closed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, over 302 exhibitors from cross cutting sectors participated.

One of the exhibitors was Henry Jackson Foundation for Medical Research International in Tanzania (HJMRI-T) that was there to ensure visitors had access to Covid-19 Vaccination.

Funded by the American Rescue Plan through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) under the support of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the HJMRI-T in Southern Highlands of Tanzania supported the team of health providers to ensure public at that expo has equitable access to protection against Covid-19.

By the climax of the exhibition on 8th August, a total of 1,717 people of the age above 18 years, were vaccinated against Covid-19 during the exhibitions that were held at national level in Mbeya. Out of those who were vaccinated, male population was counted to 867 while the remaining 850 were female.

Participating in the exhibitions, the HJFMRI-T was also able to showcase various HIV interventions including provision of HIV services to ensure the agriculture communities have access to quality HIV services and are protected with Covid-19 vaccinations.

Throughout the Expo, HJFMRI-T was providing a Johnson & Johnson vaccine that requires a person to take only one jab.

The initiative by HJFMRI-T to bring the vaccine at the expo was in line with its dedications on continued efforts to support the government in reaching a goal of vaccinating 70 per cent of eligible people by December 2022.

Available official statistics from the government had it that by early of July this year, the country had vaccinated only 27 per cent of the adult population It was not only residents of Mbeya who were vaccinated during the expo.

There are some people who travelled from other regions including Dar es Salaam which is located at a distance of 821 kilometres from the host region of this year’s Agriculture fair. A resident of Dar es Salaam, Mr Mkama Omari (22), is among those who received the vaccine in Mbeya during the expo.

“I planned to be vaccinated while in Dar es Salaam but I could not get enough time due to my busy schedule,” he narrates, thanking the HJFMRI-T, for bringing the service to the exhibition.

Mr Mkama says as he planned to get the vaccine in Dar es Salaam, his office supervisor assigned him to travel to Mbeya for the expo.

By the time he was traveling to Mbeya, Mr Mkama was unsure if he would get the vaccine during the expo; as a result, he planned to be vaccinated after getting back to Dar es Salaam, after completion of the core assignments that took him to the Agriculture Fair.

“I was excited to learn of the presence of the vaccination services within the exhibition grounds at the HJFMRIT pavilions that were located along Ummy Mwalimu Street,” he says.

Adding; “After getting information of availability of the vaccination services in the expo, I turned my mind from thinking of being vaccinated once I get back to Dar es Salaam, that is when I made the decision of taking my jab at the John Mwakangale grounds.” Mr Mkama says he was the only person in his family who was not yet vaccinated until Thursday of August 4 this year when he made the final decision of joining a list of Tanzanian adults who have received the vaccine.

“In my family, I was the only one who was yet to be vaccinated, I delayed because of the fear of getting side effects that were mentioned by some people when the vaccine was introduced in Tanzania for the first time,” he says.

On his arrival to the HJFMRI-T, vaccination pavilion, Mr Mkama was counseled by the clinical officer on the importance of vaccines. Since Thursday August 4, when he was vaccinated, Mr Mkama says he did not get any of the side effects, so he encourages others who are not vaccinated to take the jab for their own safety against the pandemic.

“Now I am protected from the Covid-19, I am encouraging my friends and all who are yet to be vaccinated to disregard the misleading information that the vaccine has negative effects, let’s be vaccinated as per the advice by health professionals.

“I have no doubt that the vaccine is among the best options in fighting the pandemic,” he emphasised, noting that with the vaccine he will now be able to travel abroad with no limitation,” he says.

The HJFMRI-T has been carrying out the Covid-19 Vaccination campaign in Mbeya, Songwe, Katavi and Rukwa regions through different approaches including mass campaigns with an objective of reaching 2,908,597 men and women.

Mbeya being one of the highly populated regions with a target of 1,210,046 have already vaccinated 653,425people which is approximately 54 per cent through this model and others. On different occasions, President Samia has reiterated that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and encouraged many people to take the jab to protect everyone, especially the most vulnerable.

The Head of State said the vaccination would prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying from Coronavirus.

She maintains that taking the jab is one part of managing the disease besides the main preventive measures. President Samia said as a leader, she could not endanger the public nor risk her life by introducing something that is harmful to people.

Related Articles

Back to top button