In a bid to curb the spread of yellow fever, Uganda’s Ministry of Health announced on March 15 that it would vaccinate more than 1.9 million children with the yellow fever vaccine. The vaccination campaign is being carried out with the support of UNICEFthe World Health Organization (WHO), and Gavi, and will be part of the Uganda Routine Immunization Program (WHO). Outbreaks of yellow fever have been reported in Uganda every 3 to 5 years, with less than 10% of the population immune to the disease. Given the recent increase in outbreaks and the risks they pose, the introduction of yellow fever vaccine into Uganda’s routine immunization program is essential to save children’s lives.
The yellow fever vaccine is very effective and only one dose is needed to provide lifelong protection against the virus. The Gavi Vaccine Introduction Grant will also immunize children with measles and rubella vaccines.
In addition to the vaccination campaign, Uganda will begin the implementation of a preventive mass vaccination campaign (PMVC) by administering 13 million vaccine doses in 2023, targeting areas deemed most vulnerable to outbreaks.
Yellow fever is a highly contagious disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti or Haemagogus, and outbreaks in Uganda originate primarily from sylvatic or jungle transmission. Mosquitoes contract the virus by feeding on infected primates and then biting humans during agricultural and other activities in forested areas.
This life-saving measure by Uganda will help minimize and even end the threat of yellow fever outbreaks. The WHO representative in Uganda applauded the move, saying vaccination is the most important measure to prevent yellow fever.
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The recently confirmed cases were reported in areas close to urban areas, such as Kampala, where around 24 percent of Ugandans (around 44 million in total) live in urban areas, with around half in slums. Urban epidemics of yellow fever In densely populated areas, with low population immunity and often poor sanitation, this can have catastrophic consequences.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Ugandan Minister of Health, said: “Uganda is committed to control the transmission of yellow fever. “We want to ensure our population is protected against this high-risk disease, and vaccines remain the primary tool we have to effectively prevent and contain yellow fever outbreaks. »
The yellow fever vaccine is safe, very effective and only one dose is needed to lifetime protection. The recent increase in outbreaks and the risks they pose are why Uganda’s introduction of the yellow fever vaccine into its routine immunization program is critical to saving children’s lives and eliminating outbreaks of the disease.
Dr. Yonas Tegegn WoldemariamWHO representative in Uganda, said: “We congratulate Uganda for taking such an important step towards yellow fever vaccination. »
Tegegn added: “Vaccination is the most important measure to prevent yellow fever, and epidemic prevention can only be achieved if the majority of the population is vaccinated. »
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