South Sudan receives 1st consignment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines
Vaccines have arrived on time to rescue communities across South Sudan, says US official
JUBA, South Sudan
South Sudan received its first consignment of 152,950 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.
The single-dose vaccines, a donation from the US government, are the third batch of several vaccine shipments to arrive in the country through the COVAX Facility, a global partnership established to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
The rollout of the consignment is expected to start in the next two weeks.
South Sudan’s Health Minister Elizabeth Achuei Yol commended the US government for the generous support to fight the pandemic.
She further stressed the need for more civic education for effective uptake of the vaccine.
“Thanks to the United States government, the vaccines will ramp up the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older,” Yol told reporters Tuesday while receiving the vaccines at Juba International Airport.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the second vaccine in South Sudan’s program, while the double-dose AstraZeneca vaccines have already been administered in the country,” she said.
The Chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy, David Renz, said the vaccines have arrived on time to rescue communities across South Sudan.
“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,” he said.
Jesper Moller, the deputy representative of UNICEF, said: “The Johnson & Johnson vaccines that arrived today in South Sudan will offer an important contribution in the rollout of COVID vaccines by the convenience of a one-shot dose. This will help to reach hard-to-reach areas of South Sudan and further accelerate the journey back to normalcy. Protecting health workers, teachers and others delivering key social services is key to securing the continuation of services for children. We thank the US government and the COVAX Facility. This delivery demonstrates the power of partnership.”
“Along with other public health measures, vaccines are a vital and powerful tool to win the fight against COVID-19. The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to increase coverage and prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. Fabian Ndenzako, the WHO’s representative in South Sudan.
The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine means the country has now received a total of 271,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses for providing protection against the pandemic.
So far, 120,000 AstraZeneca vaccines have been provided through COVAX. As of Sunday, 76,207 people had received their first dose while 17,588 had been fully vaccinated with two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. As a result, 1.3% of South Sudanese adults have received at least one dose, while only 0.30% are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
South Sudan has so far reported 11,693 infections, including 120 deaths, since registering its first case last April.