Yellow fever infections are constantly rising around the world and have led to a shortage in vaccines that are needed to counter the disease.
This shortage is also being felt in the United States, and the CDC reports that the vaccines could run out in the country by July.
Therefore, if one is planning a trip to a location where yellow fever is prevalent, then it is better to get a shot of the vaccine while it is still available. As a safety measure, the CDC even advises people to avoid locations that have the infection.
Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage In The United States
Yellow fever outbreaks have risen exponentially around the globe. In 2016, an outbreak occurred in Angola and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which led health officials in these areas to undertake an immunization campaign. By the end of the campaign, over 30 million people in these regions were vaccinated.
This outbreak depleted the global yellow fever vaccine stock and even forced the World Health Organization to administer partial shots to some people.
Earlier in March, a yellow fever outbreak occurred in Brazil and this has stretched the global supply of the vaccine. This outbreak in Brazil could over time reach other South American countries and even the United States.
The possibility of an outbreak has increased the panic among CDC health officials. According to them, the country simply does not have sufficient vaccine to counter a widespread outbreak of the disease. The supply may run out by mid-2017.
“We’re going from the yellow fever vaccine being available in 4,000 clinics across the country to only 250 clinics,” CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner stated.
Steps Being Taken To Solve This Shortage
In the United States, only one yellow fever vaccine is licensed. The pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur manufactures this vaccine dubbed YF-VAX. In 2015, the company ceased the production of YF-VAX to update its manufacturing facility for the vaccine. At the time, the company calculated that it would have enough stock till it restarts production in 2018.
However, a large portion of this stock was wasted because of some technical problems. Due to the recent shortage, in an unprecedented move, the FDA authorized Sanofi Pasteur to import Stamaril. This is a yellow fever vaccine licensed in Europe, but not in the United States.
“The yellow fever vaccine is really important. We’re doing everything we can to make sure people who need it can still get it,” Skinner added.
The CDC report on the vaccine shortage has been published under the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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