Yellow fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever with high mortality caused by a flavivirus transmitted to humans via the domestic species of Aedes mosquitoes. It is a completely vaccine-preventable disease and a single shot provides immunity for a lifetime. The yellow fever vaccine is freely available to all children under one year as part of the routine immunization schedule in primary health care centers in Nigeria.
Since September 2017, Nigeria has recorded suspected cases of yellow fever in all states in the country. As at the 11th of November, 140 cases have been laboratory confirmed in Nigeria. A multi-agency yellow fever Emergency Operations Centre has been established at NCDC to coordinate the response.
This week, NPHCDA flagged off a large yellow fever vaccination campaign, targeting 26 million children and adults (aged 9 months to 44 years) in six states: Niger, Plateau, Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi and the FCT. In the second phase of a massive campaign to establish high population immunity to yellow fever nationwide which ends December 1. We urge all Nigerians to get vaccinated and encourage their families, and neighbors to do the same.
“Nigeria is on the front line in the global battle against yellow fever,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“Routine immunization coverage remains dangerously low, as shown by the latest outbreak, which is why this campaign is so important to protect the vulnerable. While this campaign will save lives, we need to focus our efforts on the best long-term solution – improving routine immunization coverage so every child is protected, preventing outbreaks from happening in the first place.”
Related: With #EYEstrategy, 1 Billion People Will Be Vaccinated in Africa- Dr. Tedros
Nigeria is one of 50 partners pursuing the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy. Steered by WHO, Gavi, and UNICEF, the strategy seeks to protect at-risk populations, prevent the international spread and contain outbreaks rapidly.
As part of EYE, Nigeria has developed a 10-year strategic elimination plan to reduce the incidence of yellow fever epidemics and to vaccinate at least 80% of the target population in all states by 2026.
Gavi support for the campaign is part of a pledge it made to support routine immunization after Nigeria committed to investing $2billion in immunization over the next 10 years.
Large epidemics of yellow fever occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and low vaccination coverage.
A confirmed case of yellow fever in an unvaccinated population is a potential epidemic threat.
In addition to the vaccine, the public is advised to keep their environments clean and free of stagnant water to discourage the breeding of mosquitoes and use insecticide-treated mosquito nets, screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquito bites.