Free yellow fever vaccination campaign kicks off in Kampala

Free yellow fever vaccination campaign kicks off in Kampala
Yellow fever vaccination in Kampala.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | In Kampala, a mass yellow fever vaccination campaign has kicked off, led by Emmanuel Sserunjoji, the Mayor of Kawempe Division, who is actively engaging the local community to participate.

Spanning from April 2 until April 8, 2024 the nationwide Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign aims to reach 53 districts across Uganda.

Sserunjoji emphasized the importance of vaccination, urging individuals who haven’t received the yellow fever vaccine to avail themselves of the opportunity. He encouraged everyone to take part in this initiative.

“I encourage all of you to get vaccinated against Yellow Fever if you have not been vaccinated before,” Sserunjoji said.

City residents have responded positively to the vaccination drive, showing enthusiasm by visiting various vaccination sites.

Uganda has embarked on a national program to safeguard its at-risk population against the devastating impact of yellow fever through a comprehensive vaccination campaign.

Dr. Annet Kisakye, representing the World Health Organization (WHO) Uganda, commended the political leaders for their efforts in spearheading the campaign and motivating city dwellers to join in. She highlighted the lifelong protection the vaccine offers against yellow fever.

“This vaccine will provide you with lifetime protection against yellow fever,” said Dr. Kisakye, underlining the long-term benefits of vaccination.

The yellow fever vaccine is being offered free of charge to individuals aged between 1 and 60 years, making it accessible to a wide demographic. However, pregnant women and those allergic to eggs are advised against receiving the vaccine.

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Previously, the yellow fever vaccine was predominantly available through private healthcare providers, primarily targeting travelers. Now, during this mass immunization exercise, it’s freely accessible to all citizens, contributing to lifelong immunity against the disease.

This vaccination campaign marks a significant stride in bolstering population immunity against yellow fever.

With the aim of eliminating yellow fever epidemics by 2026, this campaign represents a significant milestone in Uganda’s effort towards this goal.

Uganda had previously scheduled phased implementation of Yellow Fever Preventive Mass Vaccination Campaigns (PMVC) in 2023 and 2024 to combat the disease effectively.

Citizens are encouraged to visit their nearest government health facility or designated vaccination points between April 2 and April 8 to receive the vaccine and contribute to community health and immunity.

Uganda has a history of yellow fever outbreaks dating back to 1942, when the first recorded outbreak occurred in Western Uganda, specifically in Bwamba County, Bundibugyo district.

Subsequent outbreaks were reported in 1952, 1964, 1971, and 1975. Since 2010, the country has experienced an increasing number of yellow fever outbreaks, with confirmed cases documented in Agago, Abim, Kitgum, Lamwo, and Pader.

In 2016, outbreaks occurred in Masaka, Kalangala, and Rukungiri, followed by outbreaks in Kaabong and Masaka in 2019.

In 2020, cases were reported in Moyo, Obongi, Maracha, and Buliisa districts, while Wakiso district experienced outbreaks in both 2020 and 2022.

In 2021, Nebbi district had an outbreak.

Most recently, in 2023, yellow fever outbreaks have been recorded in Buikwe and Buvuma districts.

This persistent pattern indicates that many Ugandans remain vulnerable to yellow fever, highlighting the urgent need for widespread vaccination efforts.