Uganda will roll out an anti-Ebola vaccination exercise next week, targeting front-line health workers deployed in high-risk districts bordering the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is an outbreak.
Uganda’s minister of health Jane Ruth Aceng tol reporters on Friday that her country, with support from the World Health Organization, had procured over 2,100 of rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccines, with supplementary doses also requested.
The vaccination exercise targets about 3,000 frontline health workers in Uganda’s five high-risk districts of Kabarole, Bunyangabo, Kasese, Bundibugyo, and Ntoroko, which border the DR Congo.
“Our health workers are the highest risk population for Ebola,” Aceng said, accompanied by WHO officials.
She said Ebola preparedness and response activities are in high gear in Uganda, even though there is no outbreak in the country.
Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO country representative in Uganda, said the vaccine is safe as evidenced from its previous use in Guinea, Sierra Leone and the DR Congo.
The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.
Mortality rates of Ebola fever, according to the WHO, are extremely high, with the human case fatality rate ranging from 50 percent to 89 percent, depending on viral sub-type.