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South Sudan to receive over 59000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines

Photo shows health officials briefing journalists at the Public Health Emergency Operation Center in Juba on Sunday.

By Simon Deng

South Sudan is set to receive next week 59,520 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines with support of the COVAX facility to allow those vaccinated earlier on to receive their second jab.

Kennedy Ongwae, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Health revealed that they will be receiving vaccines in Juba onAugust 31st.

“We are expecting about 59,520 doses mainly targeting the second dose and probably whatever remains will benefit those who need the first dose,” Ongwae told journalists in Juba on Sunday.

Ongwae said that upon arrival of the vaccines, delivery will be made to 7 locations across the country.

“We are ready in all the 10 states and 3 administrative areas, we are limited because the vaccine doses have expire on 30thSeptember,” he disclosed. 

“We are hoping that if we get these vaccines in, we will be able to provide second doses to all the beneficiaries who received the first dose even before expiry,” added Ongwae.

John Rumunu, Director General for Preventive Health Servicessaid that the vaccines from the COVAX facility are not enough, adding that government is working to acquire more vaccines through bilateral collaborations.

“We are working closely with Foreign Affairs Ministry to realize donations of 100,000 doses of Sinopharm from China, initially COVAX promised to cover 20 percent of our needs. This 20 percent is quite low and it is a responsibility of the governmentto ensure that everyone that needs vaccine in the country is vaccinated,” said Rumunu.

Rumunu, disclosed that they are in possession of 151,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines donated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through COVAX facility.

He however, noted that slow testing is impeding comprehensive overview of the spread COVID-19 at community level.

Rumunu added that the situation is further being exacerbated due to public laxity in observing the public health guidelines earlier on recommended by the government to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

South Sudan registered 14 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative cases to 11,948 since the outbreak in April last year, recoveries are 10,948 and 120 fatalities.

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