In its effort to curb the spread of Yellow Fever, the federal government with support from the WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and other partners commenced the nationwide vaccination against the disease in January this year.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus which spread through the bite of infected mosquitos. According to fact sheets on the disease from the World Health Organization, yellow fever virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America. The disease resurfaced in Nigeria in September 2017 after 21 years of silence, when it was discovered in a seven-year-old girl in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State. The girl had no previous history of yellow fever vaccination. She also had no travel history outside her state two years before the illness. As of November 11, 140 cases had been laboratory-confirmed in Nigeria.
The first phase of the yellow fever preventive mass vaccination campaign (PMVC) took place in January and February in Kwara, Kogi and Zamfara states and parts of Borno State. Approximately 8.7 million adults and children between the ages of nine 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 second phase of the vaccination campaign, which runs from November 24 to December 7, will target children and adults in Plateau, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Borno states as well as in the Federal Capital Territory.
The Director, Special Duties, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Joseph Oteri, said there is nothing wrong with people above the stipulated age taking the vaccine.
He said, “There is nothing wrong if someone over 44 years takes the vaccine. We are aware that people above the age limit is taking it and I know someone above 45 years who has taken it. It doesn’t have any side effects on them. It’s just that we don’t have enough vaccines to cater for everyone and that is why we are rationalizing it to those that are more at risk.”