By Denis Ejulu
South Sudan on Tuesday received additional 59,520 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) and COVAX facility to enable it resume vaccination against COVID-19.
Elizabeth Yol Acuei, minister of health expressed her relief after the vaccines donated by the French government arrived in Juba, adding that they will mainly target those who received the first jab and also cater for the vulnerable groups in the country.
“The arrival of these vaccines is in line with ensuring equitable access to vaccines through the GAVI and COVAX facility. It is recommended that persons who have received already their first dose return to be vaccinated,” she told journalists in Juba.
“Persons who have not been vaccinated, especially the elderly and those with health complications like diabetes, blood pressure are encouraged to turn up for vaccination,” disclosed Acuei.
In July, the ministry of health halted vaccination against COVID-19 after exhausting all available vaccines.
Juba received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility comprising of 132,000 doses in March this year.
Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative in South Sudan revealed that the second batch of vaccines will enable 10 percent of the 12.2 million South Sudan population to be vaccinated by the end of this year.
He also disclosed that they aim to vaccinate at least 40 percent of the vulnerable groups that include elderly persons by December 2021.
“It is expected that more vaccines will be secured so that all the counties in the states receive them. It will target largely those who need the second dose,” said Ndenzako.
Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Country Representative revealed that vaccination against COVID-19 will immediately resume on Wednesday in the country.
The ministry of health of health as of Tuesday recorded 9 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 11,436, recoveries 10,948, and 120 fatalities since April last year when the first case was registered.