President Kiir approves Covid-19 vaccine, vaccinations for health workers start
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Tuesday after being briefed by the ministry of health officials at the statehouse, approved the launch of the coronavirus vaccination campaign across the country.
On Tuesday, a team of medical doctors made a presentation on the AstraZeneca vaccine to President Kiir and senior government officials on the efficacy of the vaccine.
“We are here for a very important topic. We have to accept the presence of coronavirus with us in South Sudan, and you have seen it has taken our very important people, my condolences to those who lost their loved ones. As you have heard, what was said by one of our colleagues is that let us accept the vaccine then we go in for it,” President Kiir said.
South Sudan’s government postponed the Covid-19 vaccine launch, which was scheduled to take place at the State House on Monday, due to unclear circumstances.
However, the Director-General for Preventive Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. John Rumunu, said the vaccination exercise was postponed due to logistical challenges.
Vaccination of health workers to start in Juba today
The Covid-19 vaccination exercise for frontline health workers is expected to begin in Juba today in three centers, Juba Teaching Hospital, Buluk Police Medical Hospital, and Al Giada Military Hospital, according to Dr. Richard Laku, the Covid-19 incident manager.
This is part of the government plan to roll out vaccines to priority groups such as the health workers, the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, teachers, etc.
“I know the plans as we told you the other day. They will be doing vaccination for the health workers in Juba Teaching Hospital, police hospital, and military hospitals, but regarding J1 (state house), because when the last meeting today (Tuesday) in the morning happened, I was not there, so I don’t have information on that,” Dr. Laku told Radio Tamazuj.
“Health workers will start their vaccination on Wednesday and they will have no problem because the vaccinators are there, the facilities are there. This is the first group we need to vaccinate," he added.
South Sudan’s presidency and senior government officials were set to receive the first jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday morning at the statehouse but the function turned into a presentation to enlighten them on the efficacy of the vaccine.
A total of 192,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine is already available in the country.
South Sudan received the first batch of its 132,000 doses of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine from the COVAX facility last week on Thursday 25. This was followed by another 60,000 doses donated by African Union (AU) through African Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on Friday 26.
Although both the WHO and the European Medical Authority (EMA) approve the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in all countries, some countries are still studying it.