The first consignment of vaccines against covid-19 from COVAX facility has arrived in South Sudan.
Authorities received 132,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines at Juba International airport on Thursday.
These are part of the 2.4 million doses of vaccines coming through COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and others.
“Today 132,000 doses of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine arrive at the Juba International Airport. This is the first of several vaccine shipments scheduled to arrive in South Sudan over the coming months,” South Sudan’s Health Minister Elizabeth Acuei told reporters at Juba International Airport.
The health ministry says front-line health workers, people with underlying conditions, and elderly persons mainly from 60 years plus will be the first to get the vaccines. Each person will first receive 0.5ml as the first inoculation and a second one after eight to twelve weeks.
As of March 24th, the country has more than 9,900 confirmed cases of covid-19 including 106 deaths, according to WHO’s data.
World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Dr. Fabian Ndenzako expressed his happiness at the arrival of the vaccine, according to media.
Radio Tamazuj quoted Dr. Fabian as saying, ”We are thrilled today that we have received the covid-19 vaccines. The vaccine doses are shipped via the COVAX facility, a partnership between the coalition of epidemic preparedness innovations, the GAVI, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization. This is historic towards a goal to ensure equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine globally.”
Earlier on, national Covid-19 incident manager, South Sudan’s health ministry Dr. Richard Lako said the vaccinations will begin with frontline health workers in Juba. He said the vaccines will be given without any charges.