Press Statement by Ministry of Health on Vaccination of targeted Healthcare and frontline workers operating in high risk states against Ebola

Yambio, 28 January 2019: The Ministry of Health (MoH) would like to inform the general public that, South Sudan will kick start the Ebola vaccination exercises for selected healthcare and frontline workers who are operating in high risk areas, most of which border the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) against Ebola virus disease (EVD) as part of national preparedness efforts.

The vaccination commenced today, 28 January 2019 in in Yambio in Gbudue State and will be extended to other high-risk areas which include Tombura, Yei, Nimule and Juba.

The vaccination is to protect healthcare and frontline workers who are at high risk of contracting Ebola in case of an outbreak.

The Ministry of Health is undertaking the vaccination exercise with technical support from WHO and operational costs from GAVI vaccine alliance, DFID and other partners.

WHO and MOH have received 2,160 doses of the Ebola vaccine (rVSVZEBOV) from Merck and will be administered to protect against Ebola virus-Zaire, the strain that is responsible for the current outbreak in DRC.

From previous trials in Guinea, the vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective. Although this vaccine is not yet licensed, it is being used under the compassionate-use protocol in response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC as recommended by the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).

Ebola Virus Disease transmission in DRC continues in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Butembo and Katwa are the current hot spots and represent 65% of new confirmed cases in the past 21 days. As of 25 January 2019, a total of 724 Ebola cases, including 451 deaths, have been reported from the DRC � an immediate neighbour of South Sudan. Of these, 57 cases occurred among health workers.

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in South Sudan. But, South Sudan is at particularly high risk of imported cases due to the cross-border movement of people and goods, hence protecting frontline and health care workers from getting infected with Ebola is the highest priority for the Ministry of Health in South Sudan.

The vaccination exercise is part of the on-going efforts of the Ministry of Health and partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), and partners to strengthen the country’s preparedness capacities and mitigate the risk of EVD importation from the raging outbreak in DRC.

May God Bless You, And May God Bless South Sudan!

Source: Government of the Republic of South Sudan