A yellow fever vaccination campaign was rolled out yesterday in Nigeria, in which some 26 million people will be targeted through Dec. 1. The vaccination will be for people within 9 months to 44 years cohort.

Nigeria/Alvaro1984 18
Nigeria/Alvaro1984 18

“Immunizing more than 26 million people is a massive undertaking,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “But this achievement will represent a huge step towards protecting people from the potentially deadly viral hemorrhagic disease not only in Nigeria but in the African region.”

This step of the campaign, which is funded by Gavi will run from 22 November to 1 December 2018 and will target children and adults in Plateau, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Borno states as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

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“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.”

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The first phase of this yellow fever preventive mass vaccination campaign (PMVC) took place in January and February 2018 in Kwara, Kogi and Zamfara states and parts of Borno state. Approximately 8.7 million adults and children between the ages of 9 months and 45 years of ages were vaccinated. A total of 39.9 million people are expected to be vaccinated against yellow fever this year.

The campaign is taking place as Nigeria experiences a yellow fever outbreak. Since its start in September 2017, confirmed cases have been recorded in 27 Local Government Areas across 14 states.

Yellow fever is caused by a virus spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Some patients can develop serious symptoms, including high fever and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), but the disease can be easily prevented by a vaccine that provides immunity for life.