Nigeria resumes yellow fever vaccination campaign amid COVID-19 outbreak

A man gets a yellow fever vaccine during a ceremony launching a response campaign against yellow fever in the district of Kisenso, Kinshasa, on July 20, 2016. Last month of June the Health Ministry of D.R. Congo declared a yellow fever epidemic in three provinces of the country, being a major concern the border areas and the populated city of Kinshasa. Kisenso is one of the health zones of Kinshasa and considered an area of suspected and confirmed cases of yellow fever. / AFP PHOTO / Eduardo Soteras (Photo credit should read EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A health consultant immunizes a child for polio in Kano, northwest Nigeria, on April 22, 2017. Vaccination programs for preventable diseases throughout Africa have lagged as health systems were reorganized to fight back COVID-19 (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigeria has resumed yellow fever vaccination with safety measures against COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

While combating multiple public health challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian government, with the support of the WHO and other partners, has re-launched mass yellow fever vaccination campaigns, the United Nations health agency said in a statement made available to Xinhua on Friday.

“To enable safe implementation in the COVID-19 context, personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced infection prevention control measures have been assured by some partners,” said the statement, from the WHO regional office for Africa.

According to the statement, the phase-four yellow fever campaigns will target more than 30 million people in seven states in Nigeria, and the pending phase-three campaign will be completed in Anambra, a state in southern Nigeria.

This will be followed by further vaccination efforts between 2021-2022 targeting more than 95 million persons in the most populous African country.

According to the statement, the 10-day yellow fever campaign in Anambra is scheduled to kick off on Friday while the phase-four campaigns are scheduled to start on Nov. 20.

“These campaigns are to be implemented by the WHO guidelines for the implementation of mass campaigns in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of PPEs and infection prevention control strategies as recommended,” it said.

The 2020 campaigns represent an acceleration of the phased preventive mass vaccination campaigns aimed to protect the country against yellow fever outbreaks, the statement said.

Nigeria is one of the priority countries for the global strategy to Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) by 2026.

Nigeria has updated its strategic elimination plan with the accelerated EYE strategic plan, aimed at completing nationwide vaccination by 2023, improving yellow fever diagnosis capacity, routine childhood immunization coverage and overall population immunity in all states.

Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The infection can cause serious disease, including fever and jaundice, and can even lead to death.