The Government of Nigeria has commenced a yellow fever vaccination campaign in five States in the Northern part of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) .
The campaign is supported by WHO, GAVI and UNICEF. It is the second phase of the campaign this year , which is taking place in Plateau, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Borno and the Federal Capital Territory.
The target age range for this campaign is from 9 months to 44 years. Parents are advised to take advantage of the campaign, which runs from 22nd November to 1st December, 2018. “The vaccine is free, safe and effective,” said Dr Joseph Oteri, Director of Special Duties at Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
This campaign is the biggest campaign to ever be undertaken in Nigeria as far as yellow fever vaccination is concerned. The rationale behind such huge campaign is to build a large population with high herd immunity – or population immunity. A confirmed case of yellow fever in an unvaccinated population is a potential outbreak, and so the need to work conrcertedly in order to achieve a yellow-fever free Nation.
“Nigeria is on the front line in the global battle against yellow fever,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Routine immunisation 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 immunisation coverage so every child is protected, preventing outbreaks from happening in the first place.”
An estimated 8.7 million adults between the ages of 9 months to 45 months were vaccinated during the first phase of the campaign in January and February this year. That campaign took place in Kogi, Kwara, Zamfara and parts of Borno State. In all, 39.9 million people are expected to be vaccinated against yellow fever this year 2018.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever and yellowness of the eyes and skin. However, yellow fever can be prevented with vaccination. Yellow fever vaccine confers lifelong immunity against the disease for those that take it.
The Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, GAVI, has been supporting Nigerian Government efforts to boost immunisation coverage. According to WHO:
Yellow fever immunization coverage in Nigeria remains extremely low. In 2016, the national routine immunization coverage (NICS) for yellow fever for children between 12 and 23 months was 39%.
GAVI is supporting Nigeria for the next 10 years, up to 2028. Nigeria is expected to contribute a sum of $2b over this period and to develop detailed accountability framework, the country’s contribution to this partnership.