First 132,000 vaccines arrive in Juba
South Sudan has received an initial 132,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine at Juba airport this morning. This is the first of a number of vaccine shipments scheduled to arrive in the country over coming months.
The delivery has been coordinated through the COVAX facility, a global partnership comprising the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and WHO to ensure equal distribution of the vaccine across the world.
Along with the vaccines, 132,500 syringes and 1,325 safety boxes were also delivered to health officials in Juba. It is reported that the vaccines and equipment was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune, before being sent to South Sudan.
It is expected that a total of 732,000 vaccines will be delivered to South Sudan over the next 6 months. These doses will target healthcare workers and citizens aged 65 and above, given the increased risk of COVID-19.
Speaking to press this morning, Health Minister Elizabeth Achuei said that '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'.
With the arrival of the first dose of vaccines, South Sudan intends to launch its national vaccination campaign with all 80 counties included. By 2022, it is hoped 40% of citizens will have been vaccinated, free of charge.