South Sudan receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccines

South Sudan receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility Source: WHO African region

South Sudan has on Thursday received 132,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine which arrived at the Juba International Airport.

This is the first of several vaccine shipments scheduled to arrive over the coming months to South Sudan through the support of the COVAX Facility.

The first COVAX supported shipment of vaccines will target health care workers as well as persons aged 65 years and older, given their increased risk of severe disease and death due to a potential COVID-19 infection. The health care workers include doctors, nurses, community-based health workers and social mobilisers, amongst others.

“The COVID-19 vaccine will help us to protect our population against COVID-19 infections and prepare for a return to a normal life. We are grateful to all partners for their support in facilitating the arrival of the vaccines in our country,” said Minister of Health Hon Elizabeth Achuei.

Together with today’s COVAX shipment of vaccines, 132,500 syringes and 1,325 safety boxes for the safe disposal of syringes arrived.

South Sudan receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility
Source: WHO African region

732,000 doses of vaccines are expected to be deployed to South Sudan in the first six months of 2021.

“Today is a historic day for South Sudan and its fight against COVID-19,” said Patience Musanhu, Gavi Senior Country Manager for South Sudan.

“This delivery is the product of an unprecedented global partnership to ensure every country has access to COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines are safe, they are effective, and they will be an important tool in the fight against this disease.” she added.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in South Sudan is set to start soon. Plans for implementing vaccine activities throughout the country in all 80 counties are being developed. Health care workers are being trained prior to vaccine deployment.

Over the next several months, through to the end of 2022, South Sudan is planning to vaccinate 40 per cent of its population, as outlined in the country’s COVID-19 National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.

The country has thus far recorded 10,019 coronavirus cases and 108 deaths.