The federal government, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and UNICEF, has kicked off the second phase of yellow fever campaign in the country as it targets 26.2 million people.
In a statement, WHO said the step of the campaign 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.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said “Immunizing more than 26 million people is a massive undertaking. But this achievement will represent a huge step towards protecting people from the potentially deadly viral haemorrhagic disease not only in Nigeria but in the African region.”
He said to ensure this phase of the vaccination campaign runs smoothly, the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with WHO with support from Gavi, has trained and deployed Management Support Teams (MST).
According to him, the MSTs are overseeing preparations in the run-up to the campaign and, in partnership with WHO yellow fever experts, will act as supervisors and provide technical assistance during the campaign itself.
The CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Dr Seth Berkley, said Nigeria is on the front line in the global battle against yellow fever. “Routine immunisation 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 immunisation coverage so every child is protected, preventing outbreaks from happening in the first place .”
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.
Nigeria is one of 50 partners pursuing the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy. Steered by WHO, Gavi and UNICEF, the strategy seeks to protect at-risk populations, prevent international spread and contain outbreaks rapidly.
As part of EYE, Nigeria has developed a 10-year strategic elimination plan to reduce the incidence of yellow fever epidemics and to vaccinate at least 80% of the target population in all states by 2026.
Gavi’s support for the campaign is part of its wider commitment to boosting Nigeria’s low immunisation coverage.