COVID-19 vaccination kicks off in Old Fangak

COVID-19 vaccination kicks off in Old Fangak
A group of people queuing up to receive the vaccine at the MSF Old Fangak Hospital Vaccination Center in Old Fangak County (photo credit: Sheila Ponnie/The City Review)

The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccination kicked off in Old Fangak County of Jonglei State on Wednesday.

 It is the first launch of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise in the area since the virus was noticed in the country.

A 38-year-old Gabriel Kalany, a medical supervisor working at MSF hospital in old Fangak— who was the second person to receive the vaccine—said he took the jab to motivate his community.

“There is a lot of negative information on social media about the COVID-19 vaccine but I want to show my community that this vaccine can prevent them from getting the disease,” he said.

During the launch doctors, midwives, nurses and elders were among the first group of people to receive the vaccine.

“One of the reasons why I accepted to get the vaccine was because I am a front health care worker. I [can now] deliver services to the community without having fear of getting COVID-19 and I don’t think there is any problem with the vaccine because it has been approved by the World Health Organisation,” Kalany explained.

“We want to control the virus from spreading and that is only done when the people are vaccinated.”

The Relief Rehabilitation Commissioner of Old Fangak, Kueth Gach, who also got vaccinated said  Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was crucial for the community.

“I want to tell the community that the vaccine is safe, [they should] disregard rumours about the vaccine for them to know that the vaccine is very safe,” Gach said

He encouraged Old Fangak residents to turn up for the jab to protect themselves and other people around them from the various allegations.

However, another resident, who sought anonymity said he wanted to take the vaccine but he was confused due to the possible side effects.

“I will take the vaccine after seeing other people taking it first. I am also waiting to see their reactions then I will also go for it,” the person said.

As of October 28, South Sudan’s overall COVID-19 cases stood at 12,361 out of the cumulative tests of 249,156. There were 13 new cases were confirmed while the cumulative number of deaths stood at 133.

The J and J vaccine rollout in old Fangak was supported by the Action Against Hunger.

Fangak launched its first vaccination early this week with a campaign around the market and the hospital in the Old Fangak.

The residents were excited to receive the vaccine saying they were tired of hearing about face masks and social distance.

However, there has been a low turnup for the vaccine among women compared to men due to disinformation and the myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.