South Sudan hit by COVID-19 vaccine shortage

South Sudan hit by COVID-19 vaccine shortage

South Sudan has been hit by COVID-19 vaccine shortage which has forced the country to shut down some inoculation centres pending restocking of the drug.

The ministry of health told the media on Sunday, July 18, that the country was hopeful of restocking the shelves with the vaccine to continue the inoculation campaign.

South Sudan received a batch of 132, 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine back in March, and was hit with low reception of the drug forcing the country to intensify campaigns to overcome the obstacle.

Around 60,000 vaccines that had been acquired through a joint effort of MTN and CDC expired and had to be destroyed. Out of the 132,000 doses that were received from COVAX Facility, the country exported 72,000 Kenya after it appeared that their expiry date was fast approaching with no clear-cut plan to use them before July.

The country has inoculated 50,000 with the first jab while 4,000 people have so far completed their jabs.

Besides the shortage is the wastage that came out of the short duration of time to administer the jab before the expiry.

On July 20, Jonglei State returned 450 expired doses which the state received in the 1,500 units it received from the national government. The drugs expired on Sunday, July 18, 2021.

Radio Tamazuj quoted Dr Sammuel Majur, the director-general at the Jonglei health ministry, saying: “On Sunday, July 18, we stopped vaccinating people because the vaccines have expired. So, we have stopped working. We are left with 450 doses at Bor State Hospital and Pariak PHCC until the expiry.”

Mr Majur blamed the incident on the rigidity of the residents who have shunned the vaccination citing fears of unconfirmed health risks.

“As the ministry, we have been campaigning for people to go for the vaccines but the turnout has however been low because many people are misinformed that the vaccines are lethal,” he said.