JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan’s government has joined other African countries and officially requested the Gavi Vaccine Alliance to provide over 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine amid recent spikes in infections.

The first batch of vaccines expected to reach the country this month will be on a trial basis, Dr. John Rumunu, the director-general for Preventive Health Services in the Health Ministry, told Anadolu Agency over the phone on Monday.

“For health workers, we are requesting for 27,000 doses, elderly population 2,096,380, persons with underlying factors like diabetes 220,120, persons living with HIV/AIDS 190,000, IDPs [internally displaced persons] 405,000, teachers 46,000, economically active population [at] 25-40 years [old] 2,212,147 doses,” Rumunu said.

“The government is working with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization to acquire vaccines for COVID-19 in January 2021 at the earliest,” he added.

“The global vaccine initiative will pay the initial cost of the vaccine trials,” he said.

Meanwhile, South Sudan continues to report rises in infections.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was registered in the country in April last year, there have been at least 3,589 confirmed cases with 3,131 recoveries and 63 fatalities by Sunday.

Portraying a grim picture of the COVID-19 infections in the country, Rumunu said the situation is not improving, since the tests are not sufficient and they just obtain information from the samples.

Angelo Goup Thon, the manager of the Public Health Emergency Operations Center and acting incident manager of COVID-19, stressed that the virus has spread over the last few weeks.

“[The number of] COVID-19 [infections] is increasing now as compared to the previous weeks. We have 4% of the people affected by COVID-19, who happen to be among health care workers,” Thon said.

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