South Sudan registers steady increase in COVID-19 vaccine uptake

South Sudan registers steady increase in COVID-19 vaccine uptake
WHO COVID-19 Incident Manager, Sacha Bootsma, addresses journalists at the PHEOC. [Sheila Ponnie, City Review]

World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 Incident Manager in South Sudan, Sacha Bootsma, has revealed an increase in the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine since the launch of the Johnson & Johnson jab in October.

She made the statement during the COVID-19 weekly press briefing on Sunday.

Bootsma said a total of 87,531,000 people have so far been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson across South Sudan, with women who initially shunned the jab now accounting for 41 per cent of turn-ups.

”Healthcare workers are now approaching 50 per cent of all health workers fully vaccinated. Also, the number of elderly and people with underlying conditions is being targeted for the vaccination,” she said.

Bootsma attributed the increase to the outreach vaccination campaign carried out by health workers targeting people who have health complications, and the elderly in the residential areas, places of worship, and other public places.

“We now have 120,587 people that are fully vaccinated in South Sudan and that is now 0.88 per cent or almost 0.9 per cent of the total population.

 “I know this is still very low, but remember from the previous weeks… it is really is a steady increase and we are also very happy to see the number of females that are coming for vaccination steadily increasing,” Bootsma said.

“[This is] thanks to the fact that the vaccination team that goes out to the communities visits the households and also market places and other areas like churches where many people gather,” she added.

At least 160 health facilities are supporting the vaccination rollout in South Sudan, out of the 250 that cover 53 counties in the country. Ninety health facilities earmarked to administer the vaccine are reported to have been inaccessible due to flooding in some parts of the country.

However, 19 COVID-19 positive results have been recorded from the samples tested out of the 750 results released in 24 hours.

A cumulative number of 12,675 COVID-19 positive cases and 133 people have died of the virus since it was confirmed in South Sudan in March 2020.