Second batch of J&J vaccines arrives in Juba

Second batch of J&J vaccines arrives in Juba

The Ministry of Health yesterday received the second batch of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine was donated to South Sudan by the United States government through COVAX, which has been instrumental in extending the reach of the jabs in African countries.

George Azania Legge, the Extended Program on Immunization (EPI) Manager at the Ministry of Health, said, “Juba will start vaccination tomorrow (Friday) and deployment of the vaccine to other states will start on Monday.”

The vaccination centres in Juba are located at Juba Teaching Hospital, Buluk Police Hospital, Military Hospital, Kator, Nyakuron, Munuki, and Gurei Primary Health Care Centres.

In September, the US donated 151,200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This was the second donation by Johnson and Johnson from the US government.

According to the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation, those who have already received the dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are not permitted to take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“Stick to one vaccine, if you have started with AstraZeneca, stick to it and if it is Johnson & Johnson, stick to it,” the Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei said during the reception of the first batch of J &J in September that the country was geared towards raising the vaccine uptake to match the requirements put in place by the World Health Organisation.

She hailed the United States government for the vaccine donation, saying it would scale up the already ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program to stop the spread of the virus.

“On Tuesday we will be receiving another 168,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, ” Dr Brendan Dineen, South Sudan World Health Organisation Co-coordinator said on Sunday while confirming the arrival of the vaccines.

 “We know that some of those facilities have already run out of their J & J [but] with vaccines arriving on Tuesday, we will supply more across the country,” Dineen said.

WHO said they have distributed vaccines to more than 224 facilities across the country. These include all the 10 states’ three administrative areas. It added that 66 of the 80 countries have received the vaccine and that the remaining 14 countries are experiencing floods or have logistical difficulties.

“If that changes in January or February, we will see vaccines being made available and, therefore, access will increase and vaccinations will take place in those locations,” he assured.

Dr Dineen said that 90 per cent of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered and  that10 per cent was still being administered.

The official said that almost 60 per cent of healthcare workers in South Sudan have been fully vaccinated, a number that is better when compared to other  African countries.

So far, 139,364 people have been fully vaccinated: 33,006 with two doses of the AZ vaccine and 106,358 with a single dose of the J & J vaccine.

The priority now remains to provide the second dose of the AZ vaccine to the 51,833 people who have received their first dose.

The current COVID-19 status in the country shows the cumulative number of tests performed up to December 5 is 271,262 since COVID-19 was confirmed in the country. The number of cases recovered is 12,463, the cumulative number of cases confirmed is 12,823, and the death cases are 133.