Ministry of Health denies expired vaccines, praises vaccination drive
In a statement published this week, the Ministry of Health have denied rumours that expired vaccines have been used in the country's vaccination drive.
A number of prominent South Sudanese activists took to social media to claim that thousands of expired vaccines had been delivered to Juba for use on frontline workers. These reports centred around doses donated by mobile provider MTN, which were known to have expired on 13th April 2021.
Despite this, both MTN and the Ministry of Health have come out to reject the idea that the vaccines were expired on arrival and due to be used.
'The Ministry of Health categorically confirms that no single dose of expired vaccines has been used in the country and never will be used', the statement says.
Speaking to press, Director General for Primary Healthcare at the Ministry of Health Dr. Atem Riak Anyoun has pointed out that the 59,283 doses donated by the African Union and MTN on Monday, 29th March 2021 expired on 13th April 2021. They were barred from use because of their short shelf life, not because they were out of date.
'In lieu of the short expiry date, the Ministry stored it separately in a cold room will not be used'.
In a briefing shortly after the disposal of the vaccine, incident manager Dr Richard Laku told media that they could not use the vaccines because the Drug and Food Control Authority doesn’t allow the use of medicines with such a short shelf lifespan, not because the vaccines were expired.
Concluding the statement, the Ministry of Health praised the progress of the vaccine campaign and urged all citizens to observe social distancing measures and wear masks.