Uganda’s Ebola vaccination for high-risk health workers postponed

KAMPALA. — Uganda on Monday said Ebola vaccinations for frontline health workers in high-risk districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo have been postponed to Wednesday due to training of vaccination staff.

In a joint statement, the Ugandan Health Ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO) said the move meant to start on Monday has been delayed for two days for reorienting the vaccination teams.

At least some 3,000 frontline health workers in the five high-risk districts of Kabarole, Bunyangabo, Kasese, Bundibugyo, and Ntoroko, which border the DRC, are targeted.

Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s health minister, told reporters on Friday that with WHO’s support, the east African country has procured over 2,100 of rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccines, and supplementary doses have been requested.

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 DRC.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalised 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. – Xinhua