JUBA – International partners to the South Sudan’s Ministry of Health have hailed the progress made by the government in rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in the ten states across the country.
Brendan Dineen, the coordinator of COVAX, told the media at the weekly COVID-19 briefing in Juba that the country has crossed the 2 million mark in vaccine inoculation.
The major element in vaccine programme in the past one year, the official noted, has been to improve and increase access to Covid-19 vaccines.
“In regards to the trend in vaccine programme, the major element has been improvement and increasing access to vaccines, that is something quite notable,” said Dineen.
South Sudan received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine on March 25, 2021 and began Covid-19 vaccination on April 6, 2021 and clocked one year of Covid-19 vaccination on April 6, 2022.
Dineen highlighted that the country has so far reached 2.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, noting that 94,7100 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines have recently been received from both the Portuguese and New Zealand governments.
“The extent to which the program has expanded, increasing into communities, has led into a very good uptake under mixed modalities, in health facilities and outreach. We have in total vaccinated 665,237 including 572,996 persons fully vaccinated, 524,262 persons have one dose of Johnson and Johnson,” said Dineen.
The World Health Organization Coordinator for COVID-19 vaccination Anson Edu said the government need to be cautious, noting that the public health measures should be quickly reinstated if the pandemic worsens.
“We need to be cautious in a manner in which we are easing the preventive measures, system should be in place to quickly reinstate the measures in epidemics situation if it worsens,” Edu said.
John Rumunu, the Covid-19 Incident manager at the national Ministry of Health said the government is monitoring the situation closely and using evidence-based approach to respond to the pandemic adding that more still needs to be done to increase the demand for Covid-19 vaccines.
“Regarding the public health measures we are using evidence-based information and risk-based approach, we are monitoring changes in virus and population immunity but we still need to do more to increase the demand [for vaccines],” said Rumunu.