Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and other partners, have launched a Yellow fever reactive vaccination campaign in three states to help control an expanding outbreak of the scourge.
The vaccination exercise is expected to target 1.6 million people between the ages of 9 months and 44 years to contain the outbreak of the disease in the affected areas.
Over 1.8 million doses of vaccine would be provided by the International Coordination Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for administration to members of the local communities.
A statement released in Abuja, on Monday, by WHO indicated that the campaign would last for ten days and would cover three local government areas in Ebonyi State, two in Benue and one in Cross River State.
WHO officer in charge of Nigeria, Dr Clement Peter, explained that the vaccination campaign would be a crucial activity that would help curtail the outbreak and ensure that people at highest risk are safe.
He encouraged eligible persons in the local communities to freely present themselves for vaccination against Yellow fever.
Director of Disease Control and Immunisation, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Joseph Oteri, implored the local communities to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated.
In addition to that, he discouraged exposure to mosquitoes, insisting that regular use of insect repellent and removing potential breeding sites such as stagnant water containers are highly effective.
He appreciated the level of response to the outbreak in Ebonyi State, stressing that it was part of the global strategy to eliminate Yellow fever epidemic by 2026.
“With the support from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and more than 50 partners, Nigeria has developed a 10-year strategic elimination plan to improve Yellow fever diagnosis capacity, childhood immunisation and overall population immunity in all states,” he disclosed.
Since May 2019, more than 55-suspected cases have been reported across eight local government areas in Ebonyi State most of which have been reported in recent weeks from Izzi LGA.
Samples of nine of the suspected cases tested positive for Yellow fever and further tests are pending. The outbreak has resulted in a high number of deaths as 20 of the suspect cases have died.