Uganda on Thursday received trial vaccines against the Ebola Sudan strain. The 1,200 doses were handed over to the government at the National Medical Stores (NMS) for trial on high-risk persons or those who are most exposed to the risk of infection.
The trial will be spearheaded by Makerere University Lung Institute headed by Dr. Bruce Kirenga.
The vaccines were handed over to the Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng by Dr. Charles Njuguna on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Njuguna said that the vaccines will be evaluated in a clinical trial called Tokomeza Ebola. He added that the trials will in no way interfere with Uganda’s effort in the fight against Ebola. He clarified that currently there’s no WHO-approved vaccine against the Sudan strain and the donation was only for trial purposes.
Aceng said that the vaccines will be used in a ring vaccination trial, where all contacts of confirmed Ebola patients and contacts of contacts are jabbed along with frontline and health workers.
With Mubende and Kassanda districts still under lockdown, Aceng said it was now nine days since the last Ebola case was confirmed.
Dr. Njuguna lauded the government and health workers whose robust response, he said had curbed the spread of the disease.
Dr. Annet Kisakye, the WHO Uganda focal point person said the vaccine had minimal side effects, and participants are advised only to take paracetamol (Panadol) to mitigate pain around the injected area.
Ebola is spread by contact with bodily fluids from infected persons with symptoms presenting as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and internal and external bleeding.