South Sudan said on Wednesday that it is working with the Global Alliance for Vaccines (GAVI) to acquire vaccines for COVID-19 in January 2021 following a surge in cases.
John Rumunu, director-general of preventive health services in Ministry of Health, said they are preparing to acquire COVID-19 vaccines from GAVI after cases topped 3,525, from when the first case was confirmed in April.
“The global vaccine initiative will pay the initial cost of the vaccine trials. The timeline expected is January,” he told journalists in Juba.
Rumunu revealed that so far they have recorded 3,131 recoveries and 63 deaths due to the disease.
He disclosed that they are rushing to acquire vaccines, due to the fact that countries globally have already started use of vaccines against the virus.
“South Sudan and partners have requested GAVI to help in footing the bills for the first request of the vaccines,” Rumunu said.
He also said that the health situation in the country is not improving as they are not undertaking enough COVID-19 tests.
“We generally say that the situation is not improving, we only get information from samples, we are not testing enough,” said Rumunu.
Rumunu also added that they are constantly reminding the public to observe Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on COVID-19 to prevent new infections.
“The Ministry of Health always maintains that people should regularly wash hands, sanitize, maintain a distance of at least two meters from each other and wear face masks in public,” he said.
South Sudan lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions in May, after imposing them in March even before it confirmed its first case in April.
Medical experts described the move to ease restrictions as inappropriate because it would lead to a spike in new COVID-19 infections and overwhelm the fragile health care system.