A campaign to vaccinate 5.7 million people across southern Mali will begin tomorrow thanks to the first-ever ‘South-South’ dose supply from South America’s only manufacturer of yellow fever vaccine, the United Nations health agency said today.
Three million doses are coming from the Brazilian company Bio Manguinhos while the other three million doses will be provided by Sanofi Pasteur – one of the other manufacturers of yellow fever vaccine pre-qualified by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
"The fact that we have now three manufacturers of WHO pre-qualified Yellow Fever vaccine around the world means that we are much more able to meet supply demands both for emergency and routine vaccination,” Adamou Yada, Programme Manager for Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response in WHO's African Region, said.
“This first mass shipment of vaccine from one developing country to another is proof of that,” Dr. Yada added.
Mali’s mass vaccination campaign is part of the Yellow Fever Initiative that has $58 million worth of support from GAVI, the public-private alliance for vaccinations, to drastically reduce the numbers at risk from the disease in West Africa.
Mali is the third country, after Togo and Senegal, to undertake a national preventive vaccination campaign as part of the Initiative, with other countries due to follow as soon as sufficient vaccine is available.
Because of its severity, even a single case (such as Mali reported in 2007) is a public health concern, WHO said.
The 12 countries taking part on the Yellow Fever Initiative are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.