GENEVA – Last week, South Sudan surpassed the 10 percent COVID-19 vaccination milestone (of total population, fully vaccinated with a primary series of two doses), a noteworthy step in the protection of lives and towards ending vaccine inequity.
The South Sudan government, working together with stakeholders and partners, has made effort to sustain COVID-19 vaccination across the country despite competing health priorities and social-economic challenges. COVAX is the major supplier of COVID-19 vaccines to South Sudan and has delivered over 2.1 million doses of vaccines as of 7th July.
The government and partners continue to drive COVID-19 vaccine demand across the country through strategies such as community and religious leaders’ mobilization, setting up mobile vaccination sites and using local radio stations for outreach.
In June, South Sudan continued to expand COVID-19 vaccination centres to serve the remotest and hard-to-reach parts of the country.
Working in collaboration with partners such as Crown Agents (a not-for-profit organization), South Sudan is gearing up to roll-out further campaigns to ensure access to COVID- 19 vaccines for hard-to-reach populations, particularly vulnerable groups such as refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and highest risk groups such as the elderly and people living with co-morbidities.
Dr. Richard Mihigo, Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, comments on this milestone:
“Since the start of COVID-19 vaccination, South Sudan has exhibited resilience and worked to increase vaccine demand and uptake despite competing health priorities and huge expectations on the country’s emerging healthcare sector.
With more demand campaigns set to be rolled out in coming months, South Sudan is staying the course to increase vaccinations of citizens across the country including those in remote areas and hardest to reach.
COVAX now has enough supply to help South Sudan and other AMC countries achieve their national targets, and ensure all the high-risk populations are fully protected. It is important to build on this momentum and use this opportunity to achieve vaccine equity, especially protecting lives and health systems by reaching those at highest risk.
Through the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, COVAX and partners such as the African Union and World Bank are providing coordinated, tailored support to governments across the continent – focused on urgently overcoming delivery bottlenecks and rapidly turning vaccines into vaccinations.