The Ethiopian Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners, today started a second vaccination campaign to protect high-risk populations against yellow fever. More than 1.3 million people will be protected in this seven day campaign, which follows a smaller, more focused campaign in October.

Yellow Fever Virus virions/CDC
Yellow Fever Virus virions/CDC

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. Gavi will also provide operational costs for the campaign. 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.

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“This expanded vaccination campaign is focusing on people who are most at risk, to keep them safe from yellow fever and to prevent any further spread of the virus in Ethiopia,” said Dr Paul Mainuka, the acting WHO Representative in Ethiopia.

The response to the outbreak in Ethiopia is part of a global Strategy to Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) by 2026. With the support from WHO, Gavi, UNICEF, and more than fifty partners, the country will expand its routine childhood immunization programme, improve its laboratory capacity and roll-out control measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

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Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by infected mosquitos, which can be deadly but easily prevented by a safe and effective vaccine. The disease has re-emerged as a public health threat in many parts of Africa and South America, due to several factors including climate change, rapid urbanization, and increasing population movements.