Uganda introduces life-saving yellow fever vaccine into routine immunization programme

The Ministry of Well being will vaccinate over 1.9 million kids towards yellow fever with help from UNICEF, the World Well being Group (WHO) and Gavi

Kampala. In 2022, Uganda was one in all 14 international locations in Africa reporting confirmed circumstances of yellow fever. With the help of the Get rid of Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) Technique and its key companions, together with the World Well being Group, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a multi-country outbreak response was organized in neighbouring international locations that confronted extra severe yellow fever transmission.

Throughout the Built-in Youngster Well being Days (ICHD) actions in October 2022, regardless of the continuing Ebola Virus Illness outbreak having been declared the month earlier than, Uganda maintained its plans to introduce the yellow fever vaccine into its routine immunization programme.

It’s being administered to kids aged 9 months, as a part of its dedication to the EYE Technique, with a vaccine introduction grant (VIG) from Gavi. All kids will probably be vaccinated with each yellow fever and measles-rubella vaccines.

The EYE Technique is a multi-stakeholder partnership that gives help to high-risk international locations on the right way to reduce and finally finish the specter of yellow fever epidemics. 

“Uganda is dedicated to controlling yellow fever transmission,” stated Dr Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Uganda’s Minister of Well being. “We wish to be certain that our individuals are protected towards this high-threat illness, and vaccines stay the primary device we’ve to effectively forestall and include yellow fever outbreaks.”

Uganda is a high-risk nation for yellow fever transmission as a consequence of lower than 10 per cent of the inhabitants being immunized towards it, with sporadic outbreaks occurring each 3 to five years. The current confirmed circumstances have been reported from close to city areas, similar to Kampala. Round 24 per cent of Ugandans (roughly 44 million in complete), stay in city areas with roughly half of these dwelling in slums. City outbreaks of yellow fever in densely populated areas with low inhabitants immunity and sometimes with poor sanitation, can have catastrophic penalties.

“We applaud Uganda for taking such an vital step in direction of immunization towards yellow fever,” stated Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO Consultant in Uganda. “Vaccination is the one most vital measure for stopping yellow fever, and the prevention of outbreaks can solely be achieved if nearly all of the inhabitants is immunized.”

Yellow fever is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti or Haemagogus mosquito species and outbreaks in Uganda originate primarily from sylvatic, or jungle, transmission. Mosquitoes purchase the virus by feeding on contaminated primates after which chunk people throughout agricultural and different actions in forested areas. People can then carry the virus to different areas, together with city centres, the place it’s unfold by mosquitoes from human to human.

Yellow fever infections may cause severe sickness and, in as much as 30–60 per cent of extreme circumstances, dying. There aren’t any particular therapeutics to deal with the illness, however early supportive care will increase survival charges. Crucially, there’s a vaccine towards yellow fever, and it’s secure, extremely efficient and solely a single dose is required for life-long safety.

“The current rise in illness outbreaks and the dangers they current are why Uganda’s introduction of the yellow fever vaccine into its routine immunization programme is so vital.” stated Thabani Maphosa, the Managing Director, Nation Programmes Supply at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “We commend the continued dedication of the Authorities of Uganda and can work with all companions to help this very important programme, which can save many lives.” 

“There isn’t a treatment for yellow fever. It will probably solely be prevented,” stated Dr. M. Munir A. Safieldin, UNICEF Consultant to Uganda.  “A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is ample to present a person life-long safety towards the virus. This addition to the routine immunization schedule is essential to saving kids’s lives and can go a great distance in direction of eliminating epidemics of this illness.”

Along with the success of the roll-out of yellow fever vaccine into its routine immunization schedule, Uganda will begin the implementation of a phased preventive mass vaccination marketing campaign (PMVC) by administering 13 million vaccine doses in 2023, for which Gavi has offered funding via a marketing campaign operations grant. It will goal areas deemed most susceptible to outbreaks.

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