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South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar receives the covid-19 jab on April 7, 2021. Photo Courtesy

 

April 7, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar on Wednesday received the AstraZeneca jab against Coronavirus, becoming the first senior official at the presidency to be vaccinated against the pandemic.

This came a day the COVID-19 vaccination drive kicked off, with health workers getting their first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine at Juba Teaching Hospital.

Machar urged people to continue observing preventive measures against the pandemic, including wearing masks as well as maintaining social distancing.

While speaking at the launch of the vaccination campaign on Tuesday, South Sudan’s Health minister, Elizabeth Achuei said the aim of the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect the prioritized groups against COVID-19”.

South Sudan seeks to vaccinate 40 per cent of its population against COVID-19.

“The first phase of the vaccination is conducted in Central Equatoria State targeting health care workers as well as persons aged 65 years and older, given their increased risk of severe disease and death due to a potential COVID-19 infection”, said Achuei.

A person being vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine requires two doses to ensure optimal immune response against the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 vaccination in South Sudan will be provided on a voluntary basis and free of charge and people receiving the vaccine will be asked to consent prior to being vaccinated.

Last month, South Sudan received 132,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The first COVAX supported shipment of vaccines will target health care workers as well as persons aged 65 years and older, given their increased risk of severe disease and death due to a potential COVID-19 infection.

Health experts, however, say while COVID-19 vaccination is important to protect the most vulnerable and exposed people from getting infected and reduce morbidity and mortality, continued adherence to preventive measures to avoid the spread of the virus by wearing facial masks and respecting social distancing remains crucial. - Sudan Tribune

(ST)

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