Uganda reports shortage of Ebola vaccines

Uganda reports shortage of Ebola vaccines

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Health has said that it does not have enough stocks for Ebola hemorrhagic fever vaccines.

Uganda embarked on vaccinating its front line and health workers in November last year. By March, over 4,000 personnel from high-risk districts had been immunized during an exercise that involved a drug that is still undergoing a clinical trial.

In phase one of the vaccination exercise, eight districts of Bundibugyo, Bunyangabu, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kasese, Kisoro, Ntoroko and Rubirizi were covered. The second phase covered the five districts of Rukungiri, Hoima, Kikuube, Buliisa and Kagadi were covered.

It was also decided that when a case tested positive, all their contacts be vaccinated, in what is referred to as ring vaccination. The plan by the Ministry was for the vaccine to be available at all times for people at high risk of infection as part of the efforts by the government to keep the viral hemorrhagic fever at bay.

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But Dr Allan Muruta the Incident Commander of the Ebola Disease outbreak at the Ministry of Health said that some people who need the jab cannot currently get it, yet it is very effective. He was speaking at a meeting that brought together officials from the World Health Organization, Ministries of Health of both Uganda and the Democratic Republic Congo and the United Nations in Kampala this afternoon.

But, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says it’s not being available at this time should not be a cause for alarm.

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Dr Jane Byakika, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme said unlike in Uganda, donors have to ensure that the DRC that has an active outbreak have enough stocks all the time.