People in Tanzania are being actively encouraged to get Covid-19 vaccinations in a dramatic change of policy for one of Africa’s most populous countries.

A vaccination drive gets under way after Tanzania rejects its former president’s Covid scepticism.

At the front of the campaign is the new President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who just got her jab.

The man she replaced, John Magufuli, played down the virus, calling for prayer instead of vaccines and masks.

After he died in March of heart complications, Ms Samia set up a task force on coronavirus.

Officially, the country of 58 million people has recorded 29 deaths with coronavirus and 858 cases but there are fears the true numbers are greater.

The World Health Organization recently warned of a surge of cases across Africa, reporting a week-on-week rise in deaths of 43%.

At the weekend Tanzania received just over one million doses of the single-jab Johnson & Johnson vaccine, under a global scheme to help poorer countries fight the virus called Covax.

Getting her jab on Wednesday, President Samia said: “We are not an island and that is why now we are starting vaccination.”

She urged all Tanzanians to get vaccinated and said the country would get more doses.

She said she had received several vaccines since childhood and was taking this one because she knew it was safe.

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