South Sudanese Archbishop Urges Government to Allow Doctors to Examine COVID-19 Vaccine

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese

The Archbishop of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese has called upon the government of the East-Central African nation to permit national doctors and scientists examine the COVID-19 vaccine, which landed into the country Thursday, March 25.

In an interview with ACI Africa following the reception of 132,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Juba International Airport (JIA), Archbishop Stephen Ameyu said, “The vaccine is welcomed but the people in South Sudan need to know what kind of vaccine we are really importing into the country.”

“I would really ask the government to be careful in getting some vaccines from outside. Our scientists in South Sudan should not trust anybody; the government should let our local doctors examine this vaccine and prove that it is a true vaccine,” Archbishop Ameyu said in the Thursday, March 25 interview.

The South Sudanese Archbishop noted that global pharmaceutical companies have produced varying COVID-19 vaccines, underscoring the need to examine the type that had landed inside the country.

“It is important to know the vaccine brought to us since I don’t know what vaccine we are receiving,” he reiterated, adding, “We the people of the Church are ready to accept any vaccine as a means of protecting lives but we would like to know which type of vaccine has been brought to the country because we Africans must not be experiments of those vaccines.”


Highlighting the mixed reactions around the world in response to COVID-19 vaccines, the Local Ordinary of South Sudan’s only Metropolitan See said, “There have been some negative comments in Europe because of some vaccines that were issued there.”

“Even in Europe, others alleged that instead of protecting people against COVID-19, they cause health problems to people, including blood clots, which is a very serious health condition,” the 56-year-old Archbishop remarked.

He added, “We (Africans) need to be very serious about our health...The desire to survive must not make us take any sort of vaccine that is brought to us.”

Meanwhile, the Archbishop has called upon the government to continue putting in place measures to ensure that COVID-19 restrictions are adhered to in all places, including social places.

Archbishop Ameyu explained, “It is important to give clear restrictions because even at the time of restriction, it is only the Churches and Mosques that are closed but social places are full of people. It is important to realize that we can still spread COVID-19 by that congestion in social places.”

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The COVID-19 vaccine that arrived in Juba March 25 will target health care workers as well as persons aged 65 years and older, South Sudan’s Minister for Health has said.

Addressing journalists at Juba International Airport, Health Minister Elizabeth Achuei expressed the government’s gratitude to all partners for their support in facilitating the arrival of the vaccine.

The vaccine that arrived in South Sudan is a support of the COVAX facility, a global partnership comprising Coalitions of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO) established to ensure all countries access to the vaccine.

Through the COVAX facility, 732,000 doses of vaccine are expected to be deployed to South Sudan in the first six months of 2021.

Over the next several months, to the end of 2022, South Sudan is planning to vaccinate 40 percent of its population, as outlined in the country’s COVID-19 National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.