SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

GAVI Alliance to support yellow fever vaccination campaign in Nigeria

The GAVI Alliance announced on Tuesday that it would support Nigeria's first new national campaign against yellow fever in close to three decades.

The campaign will protect up to 60 million people by targeting individuals between the ages of nine months and 45 years. The new campaign to administer lifelong protection against the deadly disease will last three years.

"Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure against yellow fever," Seth Berkley, the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, said. "Many millions of Nigerians who are currently vulnerable to this disease will receive lifelong protection against its potentially fatal effects."

Nigeria is the last of the 13 highest-risk Central and West African countries to conduct a yellow fever campaign. In 2012, the World Health Organization and UNICEF estimated that just 25 percent of the six million children born each year in Nigeria received yellow fever vaccines as part of a routine infant package.

Yellow fever is still a significant issue in the region, due to high cross-border transmission and increased contact between humans and infected mosquitoes.

"Recent yellow fever outbreaks in Nigeria's neighboring and nearby countries is a cause for serious concern," Berkley said. "The resurgence of this disease puts millions of lives at risk, especially in towns and cities where large and uncontrollable outbreaks are more likely."

There are an estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever each year. The disease kills 30,000 people annually.