Home | News    Thursday 25 March 2021

South Sudan receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccines

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Health worker disinfencts Juba airport from coronavirus on 31 January 2020 (AFP photo)

March 24, 2021 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Thursday received the first batch of 132,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccines provided with support from the COVAX Facility.

The vaccines were provided by COVAX Facility, a global partnership comprised of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and WHO established to ensure all nations equitably access the COVID-19 vaccines.

The first COVAX supported shipment of vaccines will target health care workers as well as persons aged 65 years and older, given their increased risk of severe disease and death due to a potential COVID-19 infection.

“The COVID-19 vaccine will help us to protect our population against COVID-19 infections and prepare for a return to a normal life. We are grateful to all partners for their support in facilitating the arrival of the vaccines in our country,” said Health Minister, Elizabeth Achuei.

Through the COVAX Facility, 732,000 doses of vaccines are expected to be deployed to South Sudan in the first six months of 2021.

“Today is a historic day for South Sudan and its fight against COVID-19,” said Patience Musanhu, Gavi Senior Country Manager for South Sudan.

“This delivery is the product of an unprecedented global partnership to ensure every country has access to COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines are safe, they are effective, and they will be an important tool in the fight against this disease,” she added.

Over the next several months, South Sudan is reportedly planning to vaccinate 40 per cent of its population, as outlined in the country’s COVID-19 National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.

“The arrival of the vaccines is the first step towards a normal life which is an important step for children and their future, as we know they have been hit the hardest by all the COVID-19 restrictions,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF South Sudan Representative.

“We are delighted the hard work over the last weeks has paid off and we will have no rest until vaccines are brought to those most in need across the country and the vaccination campaign starts,” she added.

A person being vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine requires two doses to ensure optimal immune response against the COVID-19 virus. However, while COVID-19 vaccination is important to protect the most vulnerable and exposed people from getting infected and reduce morbidity and mortality, continued adherence to preventive measures to avoid the spread of the virus by wearing facial masks and respecting social distancing remains crucial.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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