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JUBA - 23 Mar 2021

South Sudan to receive Covid-19 vaccines on Thursday

The national Covid-19 incident manager, Dr. Richard Laku, has said that South Sudan is set to receive AstraZeneca vaccines for the novel virus on Thursday from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) under the COVAX auspices.

“We have received information from The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) COVAX facility that they will give 20 percent of the South Sudanese population vaccines which amounts to 2.4 million doses,” Dr. Laku told Radio Tamazuj. “The first batch of the vaccine consignment, which is 132,000 doses, is supposed to arrive on Thursday 25 March and we have made plans for distribution and vaccination and we shall start in Juba with frontline workers in the health sector.”

Dr. Laku said the vaccinations will be rolled out across the country after all frontline workers in Juba are vaccinated. 

He adds, “Then we shall vaccinate the special mobilizers in the health sector. The second group will be elderly people and those who have underlying health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes and we will continue until we exhaust the available vaccines."

The incident manager also revealed that the African Union (AU) and the Telecommunications Company, MTN, have also come up with another initiative to donate 95,000 Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.

“The donation from the AU and MTN, was supposed to arrive today (Monday) but they communicated earlier in the morning that they had some logistical challenges and that they will arrive tomorrow (Tuesday),” Dr. Laku said. “So, after the arrival of these vaccines tomorrow and on Thursday we will start vaccination most likely next week.”

Asked about the safety of the vaccines following reports that the vaccines cause blood clots, Dr. Laku said, “The vaccine is safe. The whole world is using them under emergency use. When they analyzed case by case, they found that the sickness of the 18 people did not have any link to the vaccine. I am sure you heard that some countries had stopped some vaccines, but they have now approved them for use. Britain and France and others in Europe which had stopped the use of the vaccine are all using it again.” 

According to the AstraZeneca website, there have been 37 reports of blood clots out of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and Britain. However, both the company and the World Health Organization say there is no evidence the vaccine causes clots. 

He said the Covid-19 vaccine will be free of charge and advised the public to call 6666 to get detailed and official information regarding Covid-19.