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JUBA - 13 Apr 2021

President Kiir takes Covid-19 vaccination

President Salva Kiir receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in Juba today. [Photo: Eye Radio]
President Salva Kiir receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in Juba today. [Photo: Eye Radio]

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, Tuesday afternoon received his first jab of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after postponing it last month. 

The president and the newly appointed minister of presidential affairs, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin received the vaccine at the official residence of the president in Juba. 

“His excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit has led the battle against Covid-19. Our president this afternoon has taken the injection of AstraZeneca which has been promised to us by our authorities and the experts in the ministry of health,” Dr. Marial said. “He has received his first injection of the vaccine. Several cabinet ministers accompanied the president to show the people of South Sudan that Covid-19 is here in our country. So we need to take this vaccine which has been taken by millions of people across the world.”

Dr. Marial encouraged citizens to embrace and take the vaccine saying, “We are not the first people to have it, yes there are some risks in it but there are more risks when you are not injected than when you receive your injection. So am announcing this on behalf of our ministry of health to tell and inform our people that vaccination has started and it has been started as we see today by our president, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit,” Dr. Marial said. 

With his first dose of the jab, President Kiir joins the list of senior government officials who have taken the jab after two weeks of reluctance. 

Last month, the government postponed the launch of the AstraZeneca vaccination campaign without giving reasons after receiving the first dose of 132,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses. The first batch is part of the 2.4 million doses that South Sudan requested from COVAX.

The AstraZeneca vaccines were delivered through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment, a global initiative to support equitable access to coronavirus vaccines.

The government said the first beneficiaries will be frontline health workers and elderly persons, mainly those above 60. Ministry of health officials also said the jab will also be given to people with underlying conditions such as cancer, asthma, and heart disease, among others