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First doses of coronavirus vaccine arrive in South Sudan

Author: Emmanuel Joseph Akile | Published: Thursday, March 25, 2021

Plane carrying AstraZeneca vaccines land at Juba International Airport on Thursday, March 25, 2021

About 132,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines have just arrived at the Juba International Airport in South Sudan.

They are part of the 2.4 million doses that South Sudan requested from COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, known as COVAX.

“This is the first dose and we will be expecting the remaining 600,000 as part of the 3 percent of 20 percent intended 2.4 million doses,” the coronavirus incident manager said.

The beneficiaries of this first batch will be front-line health workers, and elderly persons –mainly those above 60 years old.

The jabs will also be put in the arms of people with underlying conditions such as cancer, asthma, and heart disease, among others.

According to the Ministry of Health, Internally Displaced Persons and refugees will also get the vaccine.

South Sudan coronavirus incident manager says the country will receive the AstraZeneca vaccines as part of COVAX distribution for African countries.

However, only 40 percent of the 12 million population in South Sudan will get vaccinated during this round.

Dr. Richard Lako stated that each person will first receive 0.5 militre and the second jab after eight to twelve weeks.

“Probably next week, we will start the vaccination in the country, the remaining vaccines should be coming in shifts, ,” he stated.

Dr. Lako added that South Sudan is planning to buy another 2.4 million doses of the vaccine.

But only 732,000 doses have so far been approved by COVAX because it said the demand for the dose globally is high, and the production is low.

COVAX is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to coronavirus vaccines led by UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others.

“Global vaccine alliance has donated to 96 countries vaccines including South Sudan and they have given each country 20% of their population, like in our cases we are 12 million and we are given 2.4 million doses,” Dr. Lako added.

Some neighboring countries such as Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have already started the vaccination.

Coronavirus cases in South Sudan have continued to rise.

Yesterday, one person succumbed to the virus while another is in a critical condition.

So far, the cumulative number of confirmed cases in the country is 9,969.

The public is advised to strictly continue adhering to social distancing, wearing of mask, handwashing or sanitizing.

You can report any suspected cases of the virus to the nearest health Centre or call the toll free number: 6-6-6-6.

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