South Sudan vaccinates health workers against COVID-19

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN - APRIL 07: A man receives a vaccine for Covid-19 at the Police Hospital, on April 7, 2021 in Juba, South Sudan. South Sudan received 132,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on March 25 through the World Health Organisation's COVAX Facilities established to ensure all countries have equal access to Covid-19 vaccines. Apart from healthcare workers and elderly persons, South Sudan's top government officials are also expected to be vaccinated in this priority group. (Photo by Andreea Campeanu/Getty Images)
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – APRIL 07: A man receives a vaccine for COVID-19 at the Police Hospital, on April 7, 2021, in Juba, South Sudan. (Photo by Andreea Campeanu/Getty Images)

South Sudan’s health ministry said Tuesday it has vaccinated 947 health workers with the AstraZeneca vaccines against COVID-19 since last week when it launched the campaign.

“I think up to Saturday we have vaccinated 947 health workers, we didn’t work on Sunday since it was an off day and Monday’s figures are not yet entered into the data,” said George Auzenio Legge, manager for the expanded program on immunization in the ministry of health. These figures have been collected from three vaccination centers in Juba.

South Sudan on Monday registered six new COVID-19 cases bringing the cumulative number to 10,387 infections and 114 deaths. Legge disclosed that they are targeting the vaccination of more than 4,000 health workers both from private and government health facilities.

On March 25, Juba received 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility. The country is expected to receive a total of 732,000 doses of vaccines within the first six months of 2021.

However, Atem Riak, director-general for primary health care said that the vaccination campaign had recently registered low turnout, due to health workers preferring to stay away due to allegations of side effects caused by the vaccines.

Legge denied this claim, saying he didn’t receive any report or information that health workers are not turning up for vaccination due to the fear of side effects of the vaccines. “What I know is that some of the health workers stay far away like Gurei, Nyakuron among other areas and they also lack means of transport,” said Legge.

Legge disclosed that the vaccination campaign for health workers has been extended for 10 days in order to cover for lost time.