Like in other parts across the country, some rural residents are divided on the Covid-19 vaccines.
Ramadhan Ali, 42, until recently has been monitoring the results of the vaccine before he could make a decision to get the jab.
“I have heard many stories about the vaccine. I have been monitoring those who have already been vaccinated and I have been convinced to go on with vaccination,” he said.
His position is a mirror to others who have not yet decided on a vaccine and they wanted to see the results of those who have already been vaccinated.
This is despite the fact that experts have continued to insist that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe for human beings, having passed all the necessary tests.
The government task force on the Covid-19 acknowledges that some communities are not ready to be vaccinated because of their beliefs, myths and misconceptions.
This has led to low uptake of the vaccines, described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as counteragents built to save lives.
Despite the national average low uptake on the islands, in the Urban District of the Unguja main island the situation is gradually changing due to the campaign of health workers in hospitals and health centers to ensure every eligible person gets vaccinated.
“I was vaccinated because I wanted to be safe, I was told about the end of the disease. I was also told I would be safer from Covid-19 if I got the vaccine,” said a 25-year-old Khalid Issa from Nungwi village.
Another resident said his experience with the vaccines made him realize that the so-called side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine were common to other vaccines.
After getting the vaccine, she said she felt a slight pain in her arm that was not different from what she experienced when she got inoculated when she was pregnant.
Since 2021, the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders have been working in remote areas of the country to encourage people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the Covid-19.
Although the vaccine is voluntary, experts have been urging people to get it because the effects of Covid-19 are far greater to those who have never been vaccinated.
“For those who are unable to access health facilities we visited the areas where they live, the aim was ensure that everyone was vaccinated,” said the Minister of Health, Nassor Ahmed Mazuri.
“I urge my colleagues in other areas to redouble their efforts to encourage more people to get vaccinated,” insisted the Minister, adding the government had established more than 40 Covid-19 vaccine centers in both Unguja and Pemba Islands with adequate vaccines.
Rajab Ali observed that many people were first not ready to be vaccinated because of the fear they had, adding that the situation had changed among many people.
“False stories about the vaccine frightened people. Some even thought they would die after being vaccinated and others thought they would be impotent. In recent months, however, we have seen an increase in the number of people getting vaccinated” he said.
China, which is a longtime close friend of Zanzibar, has been providing the vaccine to control the spread of the disease, which has killed millions of people worldwide.
The Ministry of Health on the mainland Tanzania, through the National Vaccine Program Office, said that since the outbreak of the coronavirus in late 2019, 80 percent of Tanzanians infected with the virus did not report at the hospitals while five percent of those infected were admitted in Intensive Care Units
Among other things, the ministry said the lack of adequate education had contributed to the problem with the vaccine lingering in many areas including the Lake zone.
Ruvuma region in southern Tanzania leads with 4.6 percent of the population vaccinated while Manyara in northern Tanzania ranks last among 31 regions in Tanzania with 0.8 percent of the population vaccinated.