Millions Protected In Africa's Largest-Ever Emergency Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign

By Newsroom America Staff at 21 Sep 2016

(Newsroom America) -- A major part of the largest emergency vaccination campaign against yellow fever ever attempted in Africa has been completed, with more than 7.7 million people vaccinated in record time in the city of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The World Health Organization says this has been accomplished through an extraordinary network of partnerships and collaborations.

In less than two weeks, the campaign successfully reached the targeted population of Kinshasa, most of them (7.3 million people) using an emergency vaccine – one fifth of the full dose of yellow fever vaccine. This dose sparing strategy was recommended by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) as a short-term emergency measure to reach as many people as possible given limited supplies of the vaccine.

"WHO commends the Government of the DRC for this significant achievement to roll out such a complex campaign in such a short period of time," said Dr Yokouide Allarangar, WHO Representative in the DRC.

Planning a mass vaccination campaign on this scale usually takes up to 6 months. This complex and ambitious emergency campaign was put in place in a matter of weeks to end transmission of yellow fever before the rainy season starts in September.

The dose sparing strategy required the purchase and shipment of 10 million specialized syringes as well as specific training of more than 40 000 vaccinators to use this new method.

The Ministry of Public Health, WHO and more than 50 global partners worked closely together through the complex planning and logistics needed to roll out the campaign in more than 8000 locations across the country – both in dense, urban areas and in hard-to-reach, remote border regions.

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