South Sudanese health authorities said they have closed down COVID-19 vaccination centers after it exhausted all the AstraZeneca vaccine doses it received via the World Health Organization (WHO) led COVAX facility in March, reported Xinhua.
John Rumunu, the Director-General for preventive health services in the Ministry of Health, said they have ended vaccination in all the 90 centers across the country.
“We have closed down all our vaccination centers because we have run out of vaccines,” Rumunu told reporters in Juba on Sunday.
In March, the South Sudanese government received 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX facility. It sent back 72,000 doses as it could not use the doses due to low vaccine intake by the people and lack of enough storage capacity.
As per data collected, about 56,989 vaccine doses have been used so far. 52,226 people have received their first COVID-19 jab and 4,763 others have received their second jab.
“We managed to finish all the doses before the expiry date, we do not have any vaccines remaining, and we do not have any vaccine expiring in the cold chain. We have about four percent of wasted vaccines; this is within the acceptable range of wastage,” said Rumunu.
South Sudan is expecting to get an additional 60,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses next month from the COVAX scheme.
Meanwhile, Joseph Wamala, World Health Organization (WHO) emergency officer, issued a warning to South Sudan’s Ministry of Health officials to be cautious and vigilant to avoid the possible spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant from neighboring countries.
Wamala said it is likely that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in many countries will increase in the coming weeks and months, which will be mainly driven by the increasing emergence of highly transmissible variants, and relaxation in public health and social distancing measures.
The South Sudanese Ministry of Health said the total number of coronavirus cases stood at 10,954. 10,751 recoveries and 117 deaths have been reported so far.