The Government of Nigeria – with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Alliance for Vaccines and UNICEF, aims to vaccinate 26.2 million people this year through preventive campaigns. The second phase of the campaign for the largest ever yellow fever aims to establish a high immunity of the population across the country and start today.
This campaign step, funded by Gavi, will run from November 22 to December 1, 2018 and will target 18.6 million children and adults in Plato, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Borno, as well as the territory of the federal capital.
"The vaccination will be for people from 9 months to 44 years of age, parents are advised to use themselves and their children to take part in vaccination, the vaccine is free, safe and effective," said Dr. Joseph Oteri, the special tasks of the National Agency for the Primary Health Care Development of Nigeria.
Yellow fever is caused by a virus that spreads through a bite of infected mosquitoes. Some patients may develop severe symptoms, including high temperature 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 millions of people is a massive undertaking," said Dr. Matshidiso Moti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. "But this achievement will be a huge step towards protecting people from potentially deadly viral haemorrhagic disease not only in Nigeria, but also in the African region."
In order to ensure that this phase of the vaccination campaign is going smoothly, the Federal Ministry of Health, in cooperation with WHO with the support of Gavi, trained and deployed management support teams (MSTs). MSTs oversee pre-campaign preparations and, in partnership with WHO yellow fever experts, will act as supervisors and provide technical assistance during the campaign itself.
"Nigeria is on the brink of a global battle against the yellow fever," said Dr. Seattle Berkeley, executive director of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "The routine coverage of immunization remains dangerously low, as the latest phenomenon shows, so this campaign is so important to protecting the vulnerable. While this campaign will save lives, we need to focus our efforts on the best long-term solution – improving routine coverage by immunization , so that every child is protected, primarily preventing epidemics. "
The first phase of this campaign against preventive mass vaccination (PMVC) appeared in January and February 2018 in Quara, Kogi, and Zamfara and parts of the state of Borno. Approximately 8.7 million adults and children aged 9 months to 45 years were vaccinated. Approximately 26.2 million people are expected to be vaccinated against yellow fever this year.
The campaign takes place when Nigeria faces yellow fever. Since its inception in September 2017, confirmed cases have been recorded in 27 local government areas in 14 countries.
Nigeria is one of the 50 partners that follow the strategy for yellow fever elimination (EYE) outbreaks. Handled by WHO, Gavi and UNICEF, the strategy aims to protect populations at risk, prevent international spread and quickly prevent the onset of epidemics.
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