Vaccination of children and pregnant women

We are a Tanzanian couple expecting our first child and have been reading research findings that are against vaccination. We do not believe vaccinations are safe and we would want to avoid this if possible. Is it a legal requirement for children and pregnant women to get vaccination in Tanzania?
ES, Rukwa

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Infectious diseases are internationally monitored to avoid public health emergencies. The World Health Organisation emphasizes that it is important to get immunization where a vaccine is available. As such countries have set up requirements for immunization as recommended by scientific research, medical experts and organisations. Immunization is particularly important for children and pregnant women because of their vulnerability to diseases.

In Tanzania, the vaccination against childhood and other communicable diseases is governed by the Public Health Act, 2009 (Act. No. 1 of 2010) (the Act). The Act makes childhood vaccination a mandatory requirement in Tanzania. According to section 19(1) every parent of guardian of a child born in Mainland Tanzania shall, within 12 months from birth, cause that child to be immunized against polio, tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, hepatitis ‘B’ and any other immunizable diseases which may be prescribed by the Minister in a Gazette. Further, the parent or guardian of the immunized child shall obtain an immunization card as prescribed in the Act.

Likewise, vaccination of pregnant women is also a mandatory requirement. Section 19(3) states that every pregnant woman shall, throughout her pregnancy, ensure that she undertakes immunization against tetanus and any other infectious immunizable disease as the Minister may prescribe in a gazette. We have read your concerns but cannot offer medical advice. Your lawyer and doctor can guide you further.