NAIROBI, Kenya — In a major breakthrough for one of the world’s last countries to embrace COVID-19 vaccines, Tanzania’s president kicked off its vaccination campaign Wednesday by publicly receiving a dose and urging others to do the same. But she immediately met some hesitation in one of Africa’s most populous nations.

The East African country’s government under former President John Magufuli had long worried health officials by denying the pandemic. Magufuli, who insisted the coronavirus could be defeated with prayer, died in March. The presidency went to his deputy, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who has since changed Tanzania’s course on COVID-19.

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