Uganda Targets Yellow Fever with Vaccination Campaign and Travel Restrictions

by Alice

Uganda has initiated a nationwide yellow fever vaccination campaign to protect its population against the mosquito-borne viral disease. The campaign aims to vaccinate 14 million people, with 12.2 million already vaccinated by the end of April, according to Dr. Michael Baganizi, an immunization official at the health ministry.

To enhance protection and encourage more vaccinations, Uganda will now require all travelers to and from the country to present a yellow fever vaccination card. This new mandate is expected to increase vaccination rates among Ugandans, many of whom have expressed concerns about the vaccine, posing a challenge for healthcare providers.


The yellow fever vaccine, which involves a single injection, is available for free to Ugandans aged one to 60. Vaccination centers are set up in various locations across Kampala, including schools, universities, hospitals, and local government buildings. Previously, Ugandans paid $27 for the vaccine at private health centers.


With a population of over 45 million, Uganda is one of 27 African countries classified as “high risk” for yellow fever outbreaks. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are approximately 200,000 cases and 30,000 deaths globally each year due to yellow fever. Uganda’s most recent outbreak occurred earlier this year in Buikwe and Buvuma.


Yellow fever is caused by a virus transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. While most infections are asymptomatic, symptoms can include high fever, muscle pain, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Uganda’s vaccination campaign is part of a global initiative launched in 2017 by the WHO and partners, including the UN Children’s Agency, to eliminate yellow fever by 2026. This effort aims to protect nearly one billion people across Africa and the Americas. By August 2022, 185 million people in high-risk African countries had been vaccinated.

In Uganda, yellow fever vaccinations are commonly administered to travelers heading to countries like South Africa, which requires proof of vaccination upon entry. James Odite, a nurse at a private hospital and vaccination center in Kampala, reported that hundreds of vaccine doses remained unused after the recent campaign, suggesting they might be utilized in future mass vaccination efforts. However, some people suspect the government might distribute expired vaccines, according to Odite.

To address vaccine hesitancy, Uganda’s government has invested in community sensitization programs, emphasizing that vaccines save lives.



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