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Health ministry adds yellow fever on routine vaccination schedule

Yellow fever vaccines and the vaccine card. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health will this month start offering yellow fever vaccines to children aged nine to twelve months, following the vaccine’s inclusion into the routine immunization schedule.

Dr. Fred Nsubuga, a senior medical officer working with Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization (UNEPI) in the Ministry of Health told URN that while the program is targeting children, they plan to also vaccinate adults outside the age group who did not take personal initiative to buy the jab from private providers.

Until now, there are countries Ugandans can’t be allowed into without proof of yellow fever vaccination, but the government hasn’t been providing it prompting travelers to buy it from private clinics and hospitals or designated government facilities at a fee.

According to the health ministry, people who missed out on such will access it in prevention campaign mode, with mass vaccination drives scheduled for November 2022.

Nsubuga explains that these adult campaigns will happen within the month of November for the next three years and that by 2024, they will have vaccinated everyone creating immunity against the mosquito-borne disease that can lead to kidney failure and a coma.

Caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites, experts say symptoms of yellow fever take three to six days to develop and include fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches. It is estimated that about 15% of people who get yellow fever develop serious illnesses that can lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death.

According to Dr. Alfred Driwale, the UNEPI Manager, Uganda wants to completely eliminate the disease going by the effort mounted globally. For children, he says vaccination begins in the third week of October.

However, apart from yellow fever, other new vaccines and doses being introduced on the schedule this month are two new doses of the polio vaccine, another dose of the measles-rubella vaccine, and a birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine.

This brings the total number of immunizable diseases on the schedule to fourteen.

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