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Ministry of Health to add yellow fever vaccine on immunization schedule

FILE PHOTO: Yellow fever vaccines and the vaccine card. 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Yellow fever vaccination will be included in the routine immunization schedule.

According to the Ministry of Health, following the recently declared yellow fever outbreak in the country, government plans to introduce vaccination later this year.

The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng says that government will request GAVI the Vaccine Alliance for yellow fever to be added onto the routine immunization schedule.

When introduced, the vaccine will be administered to children at the age of 9 months. So far, 18 countries in the world have introduced the vaccine among their routine immunization schedule. Five of these are in Africa.

Dr Yonas T Woldermariam, the World Health Organisation Country Representative says the process of getting the vaccine approved might last take as long as six months.

Currently due to limited supply, it costs 80,000 shillings on average for someone to get the yellow fever vaccine from an accredited health facility.

Dr Aceng says that once the vaccine is introduced in the routine schedule, the cost of vaccination will reduce.

“The cost is high because the vaccine is produced in very small quantities and the people who carry out vaccination import it in small numbers. However when the vaccine is brought, it will reduce the price since people will be getting it free of charge,” Dr Aceng said.

Since 2017, Uganda has carried out large yellow fever campaigns that have according to the health ministry led to the immunization of over one million people within Kampala and its surrounding areas.

The introduction of the vaccine on the schedule will spread the immunity of the disease nationwide.

Dr Alfred Driwale, the programme manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization says that while the campaigns have been effective, they have concentrated more on the population within Kampala.

“Previous efforts have been centred mainly in Kampala leaving out other parts of the country that equally need the vaccine. We believe we shall be able to cover the entire country and eliminate yellow fever when it is introduced in the schedule because more people will be able to get the vaccine,” Dr Driwale said.

Uganda currently has 13 immunisable diseases. The introduction of the yellow fever vaccine will bring the number to 14 after the introduction of Rubella.

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