14 January 2011

Uganda: Yellow Fever Vaccine Finally Here

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
Two former abducted girls sit on a bed under the mosquito net.

Kampala — After long weeks of waiting, the yellow fever vaccine finally arrived in the country with five districts; Abim, Agago, Pader, Kitgum and Lamwo set to first receive the drug.

One million doses arrived on Wednesday and if all goes as planned, vaccination is to start on Janury 22 targeting all people above six months. The received amount of drugs is, however, less than the 2.5 million doses that the ministry had earlier said it needed to carry out a mass vaccination in 26 districts in northern Uganda.

Five to wait

While addressing the press in Kampala yesterday, the Assistant Commissioner National Disease Control Dr Issa Makumbi, however, said the country will only require more drugs if the disease is confirmed in the remaining five districts that were feared to have the disease. These are Gulu, Arua, Kaabong, Kotido and Lira. "We are still carrying out tests in the other districts. Once the laboratory tests confirm yellow fever, we shall mobilise for more drugs", Dr Makumbi said.

He, however, said if there is need for more vaccination, the surrounding districts to the five will be the next in line.

The vaccination exercise is budgeted to cost $3.5 million; yet to be released to the ministry. Junior health minister Richard Nduhura said the public should be calm and follow advice to avoid contracting the disease.

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