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The Ministry of Health said earlier that the country stopped immunising children against type 2 polio in 2016 after the world was declared free of it
Government will immunise 8.7 million children against polio in a new drive to prevent a major outbreak of the virus.
Dr Alfred Driwale, the manager of Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunisation (Unepi), said the immunisation will be for all children who are five years and below.
“Apparently, children born in 2016 upwards are not protected against this variant of the poliovirus [type 2]. They are given the injected form of inactivated polio [which works against type 1 and type 3 poliovirus]. It can protect them to some extent but it doesn’t prevent them from passing the virus to other children who are not vaccinated,” he told the media in Kampala yesterday.
The Ministry of Health said earlier that the country stopped immunising children against type 2 polio in 2016 after the world was declared free of it. Only the vaccines for type 1 and 3 are in use in the country.
The ministry, two weeks ago, announced an outbreak of the infectious strain of polio dubbed “circulating vaccine derived polio virus type 2 (cVDPV2), after detecting the virus in samples collected from sewage plants in Bugolobi and Lubigi in Kampala.
Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director general of health services in the August 12 statement, warned that “identification of a cVDPV2 from the environment in Uganda confirms that there are persons in the Kampala area shedding the disease.
Dr Driwale said immunisation will be effective in stopping the outbreak and shielding the children from the infectious and potentially fatal disease.
Dr Immaculate Ampaire, the Unepi deputy manager, said the immunisation will happen in two rounds in October and December.
She said in each round, 8.7m children across the country will be immunised by health workers that will be moving from door to door.
Dr Ampaire also appealed to communities to report any case of a child aged 15 years and below who is experiencing weaknesses in the arms or legs for diagnosis on whether they have polio.
“Polio starts manifesting with fever and sore throat, two weeks after the infection,” she said, adding that only about 1 per cent of those infected may get paralysed.