JUBA, 16 July 2021 – South Sudanese public health officials have vaccinated more than 50,000 people with their first COVID-19 jab.
While encouraging, the number is a drop in the ocean for a country with a population of eleven million inhabitants.
Tens of thousands of the vaccines have also been sent to all parts of the country’s regional states.
The doses being used for the current mass vaccination campaign are from a stock of 132,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca received last March from the global vaccine access initiative known as COVAX.
Some of the vaccines expired before they could be used and were discarded of, while 72,000 doses were donated to neighboring Kenya, which has set up a more robust mass inoculation program and had ran down on vaccine supplies.
South Sudan has effectively used up 90 percent of the doses it still has in store.
Authorities in Juba, the South Sudanese capital, have said they expect a second consignment of vaccines from COVAX in the coming weeks.
The medical doctor leading South Sudan’s national emergency response and preparedness, Angelo Goup, did not provide precise numbers for the consignment expected.
As of Thursday, South Sudan had confirmed just a little below 11,000 cases of COVID-19, including 117 fatalities and 10.514 full recoveries from the virus, according to data published by the health ministry, CDC Africa and Johns Hopkins University Hospital.