Yellow Fever Vaccination Program Includes 1.6 Million Nigerians

Yellow Fever case fatality ratio reached 40 percent in Nigeria
nigerian mom and children
Africa (Vax Before Travel)

The Nigerian Federal Government announced it is launching a significant vaccination campaign to help control its ongoing Yellow Fever virus outbreak.

This 10-day vaccination campaign began on September 7, 2019, which is important since the Yellow Fever case fatality ratio has reached 40 percent in Nigeria.

The Nigerian campaign is targeting 1.6 million people between the ages of 9 months to 44 years, to contain the Yellow Fever outbreak in affected areas. It is supported by the International Coordination Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and partners.

To fund future vaccination programs, Gavi announced on August 30, 2019, it intends to raise $7.4 billion dollars to immunize an additional 300 million children. 

Dr. Clement Peter, Officer in Charge, WHO Nigeria, said in a related press release, “We encourage all eligible persons to come forward and get vaccinated.”

A rapid response team (RRT) under the leadership of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), composed  of Ebonyi State health authorities, WHO and others, was deployed to investigate the cases, strengthen efforts to control virus circulation and sensitize health workers and communities on prevention methods against Yellow Fever (YF).

While vaccination is the best-known measure for keeping people protected for life, Dr. Joseph Oteri, NPHCDA Director Disease Control and Immunization, implores people to protect themselves and their families. 

According to Dr. Oteri, “Reducing exposure to mosquitoes, including the use of insect repellent to avoid bites both during the day and at night and removing potential breeding sites such as standing water containers are also effective.”

The response of the outbreak in Ebonyi State is part of the global strategy to Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) by 2026. Nigeria has developed a 10-year strategic elimination plan to improve yellow fever diagnosis capacity, childhood immunization and overall population immunity in all states.

Nigeria is a priority country for the EYE Strategy and it is expected that more than 75 million people will be protected against yellow fever in the country by the end of 2021.

The impact of the EYE strategy is already tangible, with more than 35 million people vaccinated during outbreak response and preventive mass campaigns aimed at establishing high population immunity. Efforts will continue towards full implementation of the EYE 10-year plan to eliminate yellow fever outbreaks.

Since the Nigerian YF outbreak began in September 2017 to December 2018, 3,902 suspected YF cases were reported from all 36 States in Nigeria.   

Out of the 3,295 samples collected and tested, 185 were presumptive positive in-country and were sent for confirmation to the Institute Pasteur (IP) Dakar for further testing.  From the results, 78 positive cases were confirmed at IP Dakar.

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, says the WHO.  Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

Vaccination is the most important means of preventing yellow fever, said the WHO.

To alert USA-based international travelers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Travel information for Nigeria on August 20, 2019, suggesting pre-trip vaccinations should include the Stamaril Yellow Fever vaccine for all travelers older than 9 months of age. 

The Stamaril vaccine should be administered at least 10 days before entering an endemic area for the protective immunity to be achieved.

According to the CDC, the Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance.

Yellow fever vaccinations can be scheduled at local pharmacies at Vax-Before-Travel.  

Additionally, the CDC says visitors to Nigeria ensure they are current with certain vaccines, such as Routine Vaccines, Polio and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Furthermore, vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Malaria and Typhoid should be considered when visiting Nigeria, says the CDC.

Pre-departure vaccination services, related travel medications, and counseling appointments can be scheduled with a local pharmacy by visiting Vax-Before-Travel. And, vaccine financial support programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.

The CDC says any vaccine can cause side effects, which should be reported to a healthcare provider or to the CDC.

Published by Vax Before Travel

Article by
Dani Reiter