The federal government is set to begin the yellow fever preventive mass vaccination sensitisation campaign targeted at over 1.4 million persons.
As part of this effort, the federal government is partnering the World Health Organization (WHO), the Vaccine Alliance and partners to immunise about 1.6 million people between the ages of nine months to 44 years to contain the outbreak of yellow fever in affected areas.
The 10-day campaign will be implemented in three council areas in Ebonyi state, two local governments in Benue state and one council area in Cross River state.
The campaign, supported by Gavi, will use 1, 802, 044 vaccine doses provided by the International Coordination Group (ICG) on vaccine provision, funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
According to WHO Officer in -charge in Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peter, the vaccination campaign is a crucial activity to stop the spread of the outbreak of the disease and ensure that all people at risk are safe.
“We encourage all eligible persons in the target local government areas to come forward and get vaccinated,” he appealed.
Since May this year, more than 55-suspected cases of yellow fever have been reported across eight local governments in Ebonyi state most of which have been reported in recent weeks from Izzi Local Government Area.
Already, nine of the suspected cases had their samples 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. The scope of the response is therefore, in Izzi Local Government Area and surrounding local governments with contiguous borders (such as, Abakaliki in Ebonyi state, Yala Local Government Area in Cross River state and Ada and Oju Local Government Area in Benue state).
“A rapid response team under the leadership of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) composed of Ebonyi state health authorities,
WHO and other partners, was deployed to investigate the cases, strengthen efforts to control virus circulation and sensitize health workers and communities on prevention methods against yellow fever,” he said.
While vaccination is the best-known measure for keeping people protected for life, NPHCDA Director Disease Control and Immunization, Dr. Joseph Oteri, implored people to protect themselves and their families.
“Reducing exposure to mosquitoes, including the use of insect repellent to avoid bites both during the day and at night and removing potential breeding sites such as standing water containers are also effective,” he advised.
The response of the outbreak in Ebonyi state is 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 other partners, Nigeria has developed a 10-year strategic elimination plan to improve yellow fever diagnosis capacity, childhood immunization and overall population immunity in all states.
Nigeria is a priority country and it is expected that more than 75 million people will be protected against yellow fever in the country by the end of 2021.
The impact of the strategy is already tangible, with more than 35 million people vaccinated during outbreak response and preventive mass campaigns aimed at establishing high population immunity.