Government launches yellow fever vaccination campaign in Isiolo and Garissa Counties


The government has launched a ten-day yellow fever vaccination campaign targeting Garissa and Isiolo Counties following an outbreak of the disease in parts of the country earlier this year.

The campaign that kicked off on Saturday will cover Merti and Garbatula sub-counties in Isiolo as well as Lagdera, Balambala and Garissa sub-counties in Garissa County and targets 711,300 people.

Speaking in Isiolo while launching the campaign, acting Director General for Health Dr. Patrick Amoth said the drive will target all people aged 9 months to 60 years even as he called on residents in targeted areas to take advantage of the free vaccination campaign and get vaccinated.

“As you may be aware our country confirmed an outbreak of Yellow Fever disease in 10 Counties early this year and so far, at least 111 cases with 12 deaths have been detected. Majority of the cases have been recorded here in Isiolo County where all sub-counties have reported cases with Merti and Garbatulla being most affected.” Said Dr. Amoth.

He challenged County governments to ensure immunization coverage for other vaccines remains high to prevent outbreak of diseases including having all children under five years receive two doses of measles rubella vaccine to reduce the risk of measles outbreaks.

According to Dr Sergon Kibet from the World Health Organisation, the vaccination campaign is important in protecting the lives of the vulnerable. Isiolo County Health CEC Wario Galma said the campaign seeks to curtail the spread of the disease with the County having already reported 71 cases with seven fatalities. Ibrahim Adow, a health officer from UNICEF urged area residents to get vaccinated saying it remains among the most effective strategy to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to Isiolo deputy governor Dr.Abdi  Issa, the campaign marked a critical milestone in ongoing efforts to eradicate the  disease that causes widespread illness and death even as he urged the political class not to politicise the ongoing campaign.

Terry Lo from the centers for disease control said international partners remain ready to support Kenya in her efforts to cushion vulnerable populations from preventable diseases especially after the devastation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes mainly the Aedes species. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 7 to 10 days.

A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against the disease providing effective immunity within 10 days for 80-100% of people vaccinated, and within 30 days for more than 99% of people vaccinated.