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South Sudanese embrace COVID-19 vaccines

By Simon Deng

South Sudanese have picked up on vaccination against COVID-19 with over 30,000 receiving the shots in the last two weeks, a health official said.

The vaccines were first brought into the country in April.

The COVAX facility provided 132,000 doses, of which only 60,000 were administered.

About 71,000 were returned before expiry.

At least 96,000 people have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccines since April when the ministry of health rolled out vaccination against the coronavirus.

“Generally, we are seeing increase demand for the vaccines, so we are telling people to come fast and get vaccinated otherwise you will not get the vaccine,” Dr John Rumunu, the Director General for Preventive Health Services at the Ministry of Health told a press briefing in Juba.

At the end of August, South Sudan received 59,520 shots of the AstraZeneca, a month after running without vaccines.

“We are still left with 24,000 doses to be administered before the end of September when AstraZeneca will be expiring,” Sacha Bootsman, the World Health Organization COVID-19 Incident Manager told the briefing.

South Sudan has also received 152,950 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines from the United States.

Bootsman revealed that the delay in rolling out the Johnson and Johnson is the need to train health care workers to handle the vaccination.

She said it will be deployed in the first week of October.

“This is a one-shot vaccine. It is different from AstraZeneca which requires two doses that is why we need to again go to the process of training of health care workers so that they know specific ways of how to store this vaccine, how to handle this vaccine, also waste management of the empty vials of this vaccine,” Bootsman said.

South Sudan as of Saturday registered 5 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the cumulative cases to 11,805.

Recoveries are 11,195 and deaths have been 121 since April last year when the first case was registered.

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