US donates 152,950 doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to South Sudan
The United States Tuesday donated 152,950 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to the people of South Sudan in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a press release from the U.S. Embassy Juba Public Affairs Office, this is part of a worldwide effort by the United States to combat the global pandemic, which has resulted in the donation of half a billion doses worldwide.
David Renz, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., said, “This donation of vaccines strengthens the relationship between the people of the United States and South Sudan and comes at a critical time in South Sudan’s efforts against Covid-19. This donation, coordinated with key international partners, including Gavi, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, underscores our collective resolve in responding to the global challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The vaccine doses arrived in South Sudan on September 14, 2021, and were received by officials from the U.S. Embassy and officials from the Government of South Sudan, and representatives from Gavi, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization were present.
Speaking while receiving the vaccines at the Juba International Airport on Tuesday, South Sudan’s health minister, Elizabeth Achuei, thanked the United States government and the other partners for the donation.
“I am pleased to receive these Johnson & Johnson vaccines, this is going to help those who will get it. This Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be taken to the states because we need to educate the people. Our people need to know that if you have taken AstraZeneca you stick to it and if you take Johnson & Johnson you stick to it. If you also take the other coming vaccine you stick to it,” Minister Achuei said.
This is the first deployment of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in South Sudan and David Renz, the acting U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, said it will help in protecting the health of South Sudanese.
“These vaccines are the next step in the ongoing support to protecting the health and wellbeing of the South Sudanese people and for bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to an end. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is particularly important because it will allow the national COVID-19 response to extend the vaccination exercise across all the states in the ongoing efforts to protect the people of South Sudan,” Renz said.
For his part, deputy foreign minister Deng Dau thanked the US for the donation and said it will expand protection against Covid-19.
"Today, the people of South Sudan are grateful to see Johnson & Johnson arrive in Juba and South Sudan. It is a great opportunity for our people to get this particular vaccine as a way to expand the protection mechanism against Covid-19 and its variants,” Dau said.
Health officials in South Sudan have said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be used immediately citing the need to first sensitize the public against taking both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.
“As of September 2021, the U.S. Government has provided $197 million in assistance for South Sudan’s Covid-19 response. These funds include $176 million in Covid-19 relief funds through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),” the US Embassy said. “These funds support emergency food assistance, risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control, surveillance, contact tracing, vaccine rollout, and other measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.”