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South Sudan launches second round of COVID-19 vaccination

South Sudan’s ministry of health and UN agencies launched on Saturday second round of  COVID-19 vaccination targeting more than 2.4 million people across the country.

Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, the Vice President for Service Cluster said the campaign which has been boosted with the arrival of 3.9 million vaccine doses demonstrates the commitment of the government and partners to improve vaccine coverage in the country.

  “It is a distinct honor to be among you today to launch this campaign for COVID-19 vaccination, this shows our full commitment toward COVID-19 response in the republic of South Sudan,” said Abdelbagi during the launching ceremony in the capital of South Sudan, Juba.                                                                                                          

The minister of health Yolanda Awel Deng Juach, said the vaccination campaign will provide herd immunity to the population.                        

“These extra resources will enable South Sudan to strengthen its health system preparedness and help address the urgent health and nutrition needs; I call upon you to be a COVID-19 vaccine ambassador in your family, community, church and work. The vaccine is safe and effective for all people within South Sudan. Get vaccinated and tell your family and friends to get vaccinated too,” said Deng.

Fabian Ndenzako, World Health Organization country representative,  said the provision of COVID-19 vaccines to the people of South Sudan contributes to the equitable access to vaccines that is required to effectively respond to this pandemic.

Ndenzako added that South Sudan has since the start of the first vaccination campaign in April 2021, made significant progress in scaling up vaccination through the outreach initiative to access hard to reach communities.

 Hamida Lasseko, the United Nations Children’s Fund country representative, said the partnership with the World Bank and the ministry of health provides UNICEF with the opportunity to reach women and children in some of the hardest to reach communities in South Sudan.

She said UNICEF will be able to provide critical access to basic health services, and to ensure COVID-19 vaccination coverage in some of the hard to reach communities enabling their right to survival and health.

Victoria Anib Majur, undersecretary for the ministry of health said that only 2.2 million people have been fully vaccinated representing 16.24 percent of the population of 13 million in the country. She said the percentage of those vaccinated is the lowest in the East African region.

A statement issued by UNICEF  said teams of health professionals and community mobilisers are working across 80 counties over the next three months to engage with leaders and communities to administer COVID-19 vaccines for all people aged 18 and above, through the support of World Bank financing improving the essential health systems.

It said the arrival of the largest batch of COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccination campaign is a part of the additional financing of 200 million U.S dollar from the World Bank, aimed at improving capacity to respond to COVID-19 and provide essential health service delivery.

“First launched in 2021, the South Sudan COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project has been supporting the country to prevent, detect, and respond to the threats posed by COVID-19,” it said.

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