Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has dismissed the benefits of vaccines and said no lockdown is planned in his country as “God will protect” people from COVID-19.
Speaking in western Tanzania on January 27, Magufuli claimed homespun precautions such as steam inhalation were better than vaccines.
President John Magufuli
“Vaccines are not good,” he said, adding that if they were, quote, “the white man would have brought vaccines for HIV/AIDS”.
His views contradict global scientific consensus and advice from the World Health Organization.
Africa is currently struggling to secure enough vaccines for countrywide inoculation programs for its 1.3 billion people while wealthier parts of the world have reportedly stockpiled surplus doses running into the hundreds of millions.
Magufuli’s speech is not the first time he has courted controversy during the coronavirus pandemic.
His government has drawn criticism for its secretive response and the president has previously asked Tanzanians to pray the coronavirus away.