After the confirmation of a yellow fever case last month, the Republic of Congo, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners started today a vaccination campaign to control the spread of yellow fever in the port city of Pointe Noire and surrounding areas.
More than 1 million people from nine months of age are expected to be vaccinated in this six-day campaign.
The vaccination campaign uses doses from the global emergency Yellow Fever vaccine stockpile managed by the International Coordination Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG) and funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The ICG coordinates the timely and equitable provision of vaccines during outbreaks and maintains an emergency stockpile of six million doses of yellow fever vaccine, which is continually replenished. Gavi will also cover operational costs for this campaign.
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, which can be deadly, but is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine. Urban outbreaks are of particular concern and Pointe Noire is the country’s economic capital, with a population of more than 1 million. After declining for many years, yellow fever outbreaks are on the rise globally. The ease and speed of population movements, rapid urbanization and a resurgence of mosquitoes due to global warming have significantly increased the risk of urban outbreaks with international spread.
“Yellow fever has re-emerged as a public health threat in recent years in the African region,” said Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO’s Emergencies Director for Africa. “However, the vaccine is safe and provides life-long immunity. This reactive vaccination campaign is focusing on people who are most at risk and will set up a firewall which will prevent the virus from spreading further.”
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