By James Atem Kuir
South Sudan has received more than 150,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J COVID-19 vaccinevia COVAX facility yesterday.
The 152,950 doses were donated by the United States government through the vaccine sharing initiative, COVAX,to help the country expand the ongoing vaccination drive to new areas.
Speaking at the Juba International Airport (JIA)during the arrival of the vaccine consignment yesterday, David Renz, Chargé d’affairesat the U.S Embassy in South Sudan, said the doses would expand the national response to COVID-19 and reach more people with vaccines.
“The J&J vaccine is particularly important because it will allow the national COVID-19 response to expand its vaccination efforts, reaching new areas of the country and protecting more people,” he said.
The U.S envoy added: “These vaccines are the next step in our ongoing support for protecting the health and wellbeing of the South Sudanese people and for bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.”
He further said that through the USAID, the government of the United States has dedicated more than $175 million dollars for emergency food assistance, risk communication and community engagement, and important public health functions to combat the spread of COVID-19.
For her part, Elizabeth Achuei Yol the Minister of Health, appreciated the U.S government and health partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF among others.
“We are thankful to the people and government of the United States of America for this generosity we received today. I am very happy to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because there have a lot people asking for it,” Minister Achuei said.
The minister advised those who had taken their first dose with Astra Zeneca vaccine to complete the second dose with same vaccine.
The ministry of health is currently administering nearly 60,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccinein the second vaccination drive in 35 counties across the country.
The J&J doses wereexpected to be deployed in 45 counties not covered in the ongoing vaccinationcampaign.