Uganda has received 10,997,500 doses of the Novel Oral Polio Vaccine targeting type 2 poliovirus. While receiving the vaccines on Tuesday, the Primary Health Care Minister, Margaret Muhanga noted that the government intends to roll out the mass polio vaccination because of outbreaks in neighbouring Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
“With Uganda’s porous borders pockets of unimmunized children and weak surveillance are glaring risk factors for the continued spread of polio,” Muhanga said. She says that the ministry will roll out the mass vaccination exercise in December. The campaign targets 8,791,710 children under five years, which is 20.5% of Uganda’s total population.
She says that the Ministry will send teams door to door in search of every eligible child in all districts. Muhanga says that the strategy is the gold standard that has been tested globally and used by all countries.
The Health Ministry lauds the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, World Health Organization-WHO, UNICEF and partners for providing the polio vaccines.
Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO Representative in Uganda is convinced that Uganda will meet the target of ten million children within three days based on its past polio vaccination record.
The WHO figures show that 31 countries including Uganda have has recorded 10 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus this year compared to 1,069 cases recorded in 2020. As a result, Uganda is among the countries WHO has verified to rollout the novel polio vaccine to respond to the outbreak.
In Uganda, four doses of polio vaccines are administered to children at birth, six, ten and fourteen weeks. The World Health Organization’s Expanded Programme on Immunization recommends the consumption of more than four doses in polio-endemic countries with poor hygiene practices for lifetime protection.