JUBA, March 25 (Xinhua) — South Sudan on Thursday received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility. The 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines will be used to inoculate front-line health workers and other vulnerable groups starting next week.
“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you to this historical event of the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility,” Elizabeth Acuei Yol, Minister of Health said in Juba.
The shipment also included 132,500 syringes and 1,325 safety boxes for the safe disposal of syringes.
South Sudan is expected to receive a total of 732,000 doses of vaccines within the first six months of 2021.
The nation has so far registered 9,969 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 107 deaths. Acuei urged the public to continue adhering to the health preventive measures set up in place by the government and partners.
Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF country representative, hailed the arrival of the vaccines, saying it is the first step towards a normal life.
Patience Musanhu, Gavi country manager for South Sudan said the arrival of the vaccines was made possible due to the unprecedented global partnerships that aim to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
South Sudan is planning to vaccinate 40 percent of its population by the end of 2022, as outlined in its COVID-19 national deployment and vaccination plan. South Sudan’s population is estimated at about 11.2 million, according to UN data. Enditem