South Sudan has finally administered the first jab of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after almost two weeks of delay.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei became the first, among others, to be vaccinated at Juba Teaching Hospital.
“I feel happy, very happy that at least I have done this,” she told reporters after taking the jab.
“So, for the people out there, there is nothing for them to get scared of. For example, I am the Minister for Health now they can see and they should not be afraid.”
Other frontline health care workers at the country’s main referral hospital also got the jabs.
The Ministry of Health had earlier announced it would start rolling the jabs within the Presidency.
However, no one within the national government seems interested to be the first beneficiary of the vaccine.
There was confusion this morning over the launch of the coronavirus vaccine campaign.
The Ministry of Health had earlier said the exercise would be rolled out at four centres in Juba.
But journalists were left to wonder whether the exercise will take place at Juba Teaching Hospital, Giada Military Hospital, the State House J1, or at the Police Hospital in Juba.
The first doses of the 132,000 AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in South Sudan on March 25.
They are part of the 2.4 million doses South Sudan requested from COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, known as COVAX.
South Sudan is expecting 600,000 more doses to vaccinate 40 percent of the 12 million people this round.
The beneficiaries of this first batch will be front-line health workers, and elderly persons –mainly those above 60 years old.
The jabs will also be put in the arms of people with underlying conditions such as cancer, asthma, and heart disease, among others.
Minister Achuei added: “Do not be afraid, I just took it now. So there is nothing really to be afraid about.”
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