The Government of Nigeria, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Association and UNICEF, aims to vaccinate 26.2 million people during the second phase of its largest yellow fever campaign as it seeks to establish a high level of immunity at national level,
This step of the campaign funded by Gavi will continue from November 22 to December 1, 2018 and will be aimed at children and adults in the states of Plateau, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Borno, as well as in the federal capital.
"The vaccination will be for people aged from 9 months to 44 years, parents are advised to take advantage of themselves and their children to participate in the vaccination." The vaccine is free, safe and effective, "said Joseph Otera, director of the special services of the National Agency for Health Care in Nigeria.
Yellow fever is caused by a virus spread by biting from infected mosquitoes. Some patients may develop serious symptoms, including fever and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), but the disease can be easily prevented by a vaccine that provides immunity to life.
"Immunization of more than 26 million people is a huge endeavor," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. "But this achievement will be a huge step towards protecting people from potentially deadly viral hemorrhagic disease not only in Nigeria but also in the African region."
To ensure that this phase of the vaccination campaign proceeds smoothly, the Federal Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the WHO, with Gavi's support, has trained and deployed MSTs. MSCs control preparation at the start of the campaign and in partnership with WHO experts for yellow fever will act as supervisors and provide technical assistance during the campaign itself.
"Nigeria is at the forefront of the global battle against yellow fever," said Dr. Seth Berkeley, CEO of Gavi, the vaccine alliance. "Routine immunization is dangerously low, as shown by the last outbreak, which is why this campaign is so important for the protection of the vulnerable. While this campaign will save lives, we must focus on the best long-term solution – routine immunization so that each child is protected by preventing the occurrence of outbreaks in the first place. "
The first phase of this PMVC campaign was conducted in January and February 2018 in the Kwara, Kogi and Zamfara countries and parts of Borno. Approximately 8.7 million adults and children aged between 9 months and 45 years were vaccinated. It is expected that 39.9 million people will be vaccinated against yellow fever this year.
The campaign is taking place as Nigeria is experiencing a yellow fever outbreak. Since its inception in September 2017, confirmed cases have been registered in 27 areas of local government in 14 countries.
Nigeria is one of the 50 partners that are pursuing the strategy to eliminate the Yellow Fever Epidemic (EYE). Managed by the WHO, Gavi and UNICEF, the strategy aims to protect risky populations, prevent them from spreading internationally and quickly lead to outbreaks.
As part of EYE, Nigeria has developed a 10-year strategic elimination plan to reduce the spread of the yellow fever epidemic and to vaccinate at least 80% of the target population in all countries by 2026.
Routine immunization of yellow fever in Nigeria remains extremely low. In 2016, the national routine immunization (NICS) for yellow fever for children between 12 and 23 months was 39%.
Large yellow fever epidemics occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and low vaccine coverage. A confirmed case of yellow fever in an unvaccinated population is a potential epidemic threat.
Gavi's support for the campaign is part of her wider commitment to raising the low coverage of Nigeria's immunization. In return for the Nigerian government's commitment to invest $ 2 billion of its own funds in its vaccine programs over the next ten years, and a comprehensive reporting framework, Gavi is committed to continuing to support the country by 2028 by protecting millions children against some of the world's deadliest diseases and helps Nigeria save more than a million lives.