First batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrives in South Sudan
The first batch of Covid-19 vaccines, AstraZeneca, arrived at the Juba International Airport in South Sudan this morning from the global COVAX initiative created to ensure that low and middle-income countries have fair access to vaccines.
The 132,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines are part of the 2.4 million doses that South Sudan requested from COVAX since October last year.
Speaking to journalists at Juba International Airport on Thursday morning, South Sudan’s Minister of Health Elizabeth Acuei says the other vaccines will continue coming in shifts.
“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you to this historical event of the arrival of the first doses of Covid-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility. Today 132,000 doses of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine arrive at the Juba International Airport. This is the first of several vaccine shipments scheduled to arrive in South Sudan over the coming months.” Health Minister Elizabeth Acuei told reporters.
The health ministry says this first batch will be for front-line health workers, people with underlying conditions, and elderly persons –mainly those above 60 years old. Each person will first receive 0.5ml as the first jab and a second one after eight to twelve weeks.
Also speaking at the vaccine reception, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Dr. Fabian Ndenzako, expressed his happiness at the arrival of the vaccine.
”We are thrilled today that we have received the covid-19 vaccines. The vaccine doses are shipped via the COVAX facility, a partnership between the coalition of epidemic preparedness innovations, the GAVI, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization. This is historic towards a goal to ensure equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine globally.” he said.
He further encouraged the people of South Sudan to take the vaccine without any fear saying it is safe for use.
Meanwhile, the German Ambassador to South Sudan, who represented all donors at the reception of the vaccine in South Sudan, Mr. Manuel Muller says the vaccine will help save the people of South Sudan.
“Today is a good day for South Sudan. South Sudan has now a vaccine to fight against Covid-19. And today we can witness the solidarity of donor countries with developing countries. And especially the solidarity between the international community with South Sudan.” Ambassador Manuel added.
The AstraZeneca vaccines South Sudan received today is part of the COVAX distribution for African countries.
According to the health ministry, about 732,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines approved by COVAX are expected to be deployed across South Sudan in six months.
South Sudan is expected to roll out vaccinations next week while neighboring countries including Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda have already started vaccinations.
The country now records an average of 200 Covid-19 positive cases a day. The cumulative number of confirmed cases in South Sudan is 9,969.