JUBA – South Sudan government is appealing to its citizens to get the coronavirus vaccine jab before the AstraZeneca vaccine expires.
According to health experts, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by the COVAX facility will expire in 70 days.
South Sudan received 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility on March 25, 2021.
The country launched its vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in the capital Juba on April 6, but has only administered about 5,400 doses.
Speaking to reporters in Juba on Sunday during COVID-19 weekly briefly, Dr. Richard Lako, the incident manager for COVID-19 operations at the South Sudan Health Ministry, called on the public to use the vaccine before it expired.
“The issue is not transportation of the vaccine to the states, the issue is how do we make sure that the vaccines which get there are used within the 70 days remaining so that we don’t have expired vaccines,” Lako said during COVID-19 weekly briefly in Juba.
He revealed a government plan to roll out the vaccination in ten states and administrative areas in order to speed up the vaccination campaign before the vaccines expired.
“We are coming up with accelerating plans or accelerating vaccination for the whole country. We will have a target and each state will get a number of vaccines and to make sure that they vaccinate this number of people within this period,” he said.
“We want our partners to join hands with us to work together in ensuring that we implement this plan so that we vaccinate the people required and use these vaccines within period,” he added.
“Given this new vaccination plan being rolled out to ensure that we use these vaccines before expiration, I think it has 70 days left now for it to expire,” said Wamala Joseph Francis, World Health Organization Country Preparedness Officer.
“The low turnout of COVID vaccine affects the spread at which we recovered from the current pandemic,” he added.
South Sudan has so far reported 10,641 infections and 115 deaths.