Who needs a yellow fever vaccination and why? Yellow fever regained prominence following an outbreak in Nigeria in September 2017. Since then. mass prevention campaigns have been held in high-risk areas to reduce the frequency of outbreaks. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal illness that is caused by a virus but transmitted by mosquitoes.
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Symptoms of Yellow Fever Infection
Concerns about the global threat posed by Yellow Fever led to the revision of the previous WHO strategy in 2016.
Thus the EYE : (Eliminate Yellow Fever) strategy was developed.
Its goal is to eliminate Yellow Fever epidemics globally by 2026.
EYE coordinates international action and helps at-risk countries prevent YF outbreaks and prepare for those which may occur, minimizing suffering, damage and spread by early and reliable detection and a rapid and appropriate response.http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/255040/WER9216.pdf;jsessionid=5E634A605377E45ADF9853BA0B2B59FB?sequence=1 accessed 6th Jan 2019
In Nigeria, a significant number of cases have been confirmed since 2017 thus the task to increase efforts at eradicating outbreaks.
What is the Urgency About Yellow Fever?
This was an observation by WHO about 12 months ago:
Taking into consideration the reporting of suspected cases from 16 states and confirmed cases from six states, possible suboptimal immunisation coverage in affected communities, and in-country capacity to respond to sporadic cases and to conduct larger preventive campaigns (if warranted), WHO has assessed the overall risk at national level as high. There is currently a moderate risk of regional spread due to the proximity of affected states (Zamfara, and possibly Kebbi; approximately 400km from the border with Niger) and the low population immunity in this country (35.4%). The overall risk at the global level is low.
Dec 2017 WHO Yellow fever outbreak
Managing the Yellow Fever Vaccination Process
After vaccination, the usual practice is to be issued with a Yellow Fever vaccine certificate.
It is also known as an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP).
This certificate showing you’ve been vaccinated is a key travel document before you’re allowed entry into many countries – particularly for people travelling from regions where Yellow Fever is highly endemic (like Nigeria).
In Nigeria, procuring the certificate has been abused to the extent that many intending travellers forgo any pretence at vaccination and simply pay extra to have it issued.
This is dangerous for at least 2 reasons.
Firstly, Nigerian residents do not receive the highly effective vaccine which can help protect them and their families from contracting the disease.
And secondly, the risk of global transmission of the illness is increased because non-vaccinated individuals are permitted entry to other countries and potentially spread disease.
Perhaps recognizing the perceived weaknesses in the process of routine yellow fever vaccinations the Nigerian government responded with the eYellowcard.
It is the digital form of the ICVP and aims to simplify the process of vaccination to encourage people to do the right thing.
Challenges for the Digital System?
What are its challenges? Is it acceptable to most people? Can they access it easily? How will they transit to this method?
Valid questions for a digital solution that plans to eradicate the old paper certificate in about 4 months from this time.
We accessed the dedicated website for getting the eYellowcard (yellowcardnigeria.com), on 6th January 2019.
We found pages that were quite low on helpful information to guide members of the general public about simple details and prevent confusion.
For example – what should holders of valid Yellow cards who have been genuinely vaccinated do?
Do people who already have certificates (and have been vaccinated) need to be re-vaccinated as the wording on the website seems to imply?
Hmm. Probably not a very good deployment of what would otherwise have been a potentially effective solution.
We recommend that the pages of the site should be updated with helpful resource information through the FAQ and Contact Us pages to allow people access to accurate and reliable information.
In the meantime, hopefully, this short graphic we have compiled below will assist people in getting up to date with Yellow Fever vaccine changes locally
Countries That Require Yellow Fever Vaccine
Infogram – Yellow Fever Vaccine Facts
If you have any questions on this topic please contact us, or leave a comment below.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
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