KAMPALA- The inaugural Ebola vaccination exercise against the deadly Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) in Uganda, starts on Monday next week.
Uganda neighbours the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which has been affected by the diseases for several years.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister said on Friday that only healthcare and frontline workers in the five high risk districts virus will receive the rVSV vaccine.
“As a neighbour to the DRC, Uganda is on high alert due to the high risk of the Ebola threat,” Dr Aceng said during a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre.
Dr Aceng said there is no confirmed Ebola case in Uganda adding that they are actively searching for cases in all communities, health facilities and at formal and informal border crossings in high risk districts of Kabaraole, Bunyangabo, Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko.
In August, an outbreak of Ebola was confirmed in DRC. It is currently affecting DRC’s north-eastern provinces that border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
By November 1, 2018, DRC had registered 285 cases. Two hundred and fifty cases were confirmed and the death toll stood at 180 people. Another 41 suspected cases are under investigation.
Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Uganda, said the vaccine is safe with an efficacy level of over 90 per cent.
He said ten days after it’s administered, it remains effective in the body for 12 months.
“There are no major risks recorded up to now. Once one is vaccinated, there could be just a normal reaction and that’s why we follow up those who have been vaccinated,” Dr Tegegn said.
He said the vaccine is limited to a given portion of the population because it’s very scarce.
2,100 doses of the vaccine donated by the US-based Merck Company through WHO are already in the country.
Other African countries which have used the vaccine include Guinea and DRC.