Uganda rolls out free mass vaccination against Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever screening at Busia boarder irks Ugandan traders
Yellow fever vaccine and the vaccine card

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Government of Uganda has rolled out a mass vaccination campaign against yellow fever disease in the country.

Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday 30, May 2023 that the exercise will be carried out in three phases ending next year.

She noted that all the preparations including procurement of vaccines, creating awareness and response, and vaccination units have been completed adding that it was delayed by the outbreak of COVID-19 and Ebola diseases.

The first phase, of the exercise, will target 51 districts in the Lango, Acholi, Rwenzori, Ankole, West Nile, and Bunyoro sub-regions.

Dr. Atwine noted that Yellow Fever is a killer disease but preventable adding that it has been enlisted among the fourteen killer diseases.

She was speaking to journalists from across the country during the orientation of media on the Yellow Fever preventive mass vaccination campaign held at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala City organized by Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunisation (UNEPI).

Dr. Atwine disclosed that 1.4 million doses of the vaccines are already in the country and a budget of 28 billion Shillings has also been set aside by the health ministry.

She emphasized that a person is supposed to only vaccinate once against the yellow fever disease and not require a booster dose.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Senior Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Health said that the vaccines are free of charge and will be conducted voluntarily at door to door.

The first phase of the mass vaccination drive will run from 9th June to 13th June this year before its subsequent rollout to other parts of the country based on the availability of vaccines.

Yellow Fever vaccination card is a requirement for travel in some countries, and it costs not less than 100,000 shillings for a person to acquire it from a private health facility.

The health ministry however informed the public to desist from misinformation and disinformation but rather to seek information from trusted health practitioners.

Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunisation (UNEPI) says that Uganda is currently classified as a yellow fever endemic high-risk country by the World Health Organization (WHO), however, it still has a low immunity population.

Read Also: Yellow fever vaccine added on routine immunization in Uganda

Yellow fever is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti or Haemagogus mosquito species and outbreaks in Uganda originate mainly from sylvatic, or jungle, transmission.

Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected primates and then bite humans during agricultural and other activities in forested areas.

Humans can then carry the virus to other areas, including urban centers, where it is spread by mosquitoes from human to human.

Yellow fever infections can cause serious illness and, in up to 30–60 percent of severe cases, death according to experts currently, there are no specific therapeutics to treat the disease, but early supportive care increases survival rates.