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WHO urges ramp up of COVID-19 vaccination in South Sudan

By Simon Deng

The World Health Organization has urged South Sudan to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination and mitigate the spread of the pandemic in the country.

Limiting the emergence and impact of the deadly COVID-19 variants would lie more on the vaccination program, Sacha Bootsma, the COVID-19 Incident Manager for the World Health Organization in South Sudan said.

“High chances of limiting emergence and impact of deadly new variants are slim unless we ramp up vaccination,” Bootsma told the media in Juba.

“Huge Spikes in infections is being driven by the omicron variant, the omicron variant has now been detected in 142 countries, it is rapidly replacing delta in almost all countries,” she said.

 “To help end this acute phase of the pandemic, the goal must be for every country to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its population by mid-2022.” 

John Rumunu, the Acting COVID-19 Incident Manager said the country is experiencing a resurgence of the virus, noting that the reported cases come from travelers and suspects from the states.

“Most of the positive cases reported in Juba are coming from people who test for travelling purpose as oppose to the gene expert sites testing people who come with symptoms and signs of covid-19,” Rumunu said.

Brendan Dineen, the Covax coordinator said that the COVID-19 vaccination is still low, noting that vaccination is the only way to protect people from new infection.   

“As far as individuals fully vaccinated, we have 211, 110 people vaccinated, we have vaccinated over 1.5 percent, we have not vaccinated nearly as many people as we need to but vaccines is the way forward,” Dineen said.

 “We have vaccines which is enough, between now and May 2022 we should use half a million of those vaccines based on its expired date,” he said.

As of Saturday, South Sudan registered 33 new cases bring the total cumulative to 16,522 and 12,934 recoveries and 136 cumulative deaths since the outbreak in April 2020.

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