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AWEIL - 8 Jun 2021

N. Bahr el Ghazal receives Covid-19 vaccines as residents remain skeptical

Aweil Civil Hospital 7 June 2021[Photo: Radio Tamazuj]
Aweil Civil Hospital 7 June 2021[Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

The state government of Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal last Thursday received 2,500 doses of the Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine from Juba to be administered to health workers and the elderly as a priority.

State officials said after the two categories are done, vaccination will be opened to the general public at Aweil Civil Hospital where the vaccines are stored.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, Dominic Athian Dut, the Director-General of the state health ministry said, “The vaccines that arrived in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State are 2,500 doses. The first phase will target health workers and the projected quantity was so big because the health workers are many but the quantities we received are too few. And the second phase shall be elderly people and people with underlying chronic diseases.’’

He said that the exercise will start after health workers complete their training in Western Bahr- el-Ghazal State in the next few days.  

Several health workers have confirmed their readiness to take the jab. Joseph Bol Chan, a doctor working at Aweil Civil Hospital, said he is ready for vaccination. 

Dr. Chan said, “If the vaccine is here, the people at the frontline shall be targeted because they are the ones who first meet with people who have contracted the deadly disease. Of Course, I am ready for the vaccination if the medicines are available.” 

Wol Wol Akeen, the director of Aweil Civil Hospital, said taking the vaccine is voluntary and not compulsory. 

“What I am seeing is this, there is no readiness for the vaccines, it depends on individuality and it is not compulsory. As an individual, I am ready and I don’t have any problem with the vaccine,’ Akeen said. 

Three out of four people interviewed by Radio Tamazuj in Aweil town last week accepted the vaccine with reservations and others rejected it completely. Only one out of four believes that the coronavirus is real and kills. 

Abuk Diing, a resident of the western part of Aweil town, said they are ready for the vaccine if it has no side effects. 

“We are ready if the coronavirus vaccine is not causing any problem but we will not take it if it causes problems,” Abuk said.

Another Aweil resident, Albino Deng rejected the Covid-19 vaccine.  

“I am personally not ready for that (vaccine) because we heard that the American people sought to test the vaccine in Africa and if it works out, it will be taken to the first world, and if it fails they will make some changes on it,’’ he claimed.

Achai Deng said she is ready to take the vaccine but is suspicious it will stop young mothers from conceiving. 

“Yes, let them bring the medicines if they are available, we are ready to receive the vaccines so that we will be free,” Achai said. “But won’t these vaccinations get people sick or interfere with conception? We fear it may suspend conception. We fear that it may force someone to stop giving birth and we need to give birth.’’ 

Abuk Garang was the only citizen who believed that the virus kills and everybody must take the vaccines when they arrive in the state.

“Yes, we are ready if the medicines arrive, there is no fear at all because coronavirus kills and if there are medicines to treat people so that they will not die, that is good and we need that,” Abuk said.