Posted by: wildsidezambia | July 20, 2011

Yellow Fever Vaccine is running out in South Africa


Despite assurances from the WHO that Zambia has been considered at no risk of Yellow Fever already for many years, South Africa is the only country to have recently ‘issued’ a yellow fever innoculation requirement for Zambia and for people returning to South Africa from Zambia.

Because of Zambia’s growing popularity with tourists, South Africa has now virtually run out of the YF vaccine.

The following appeared in Tourism Update yesterday 19 July 2011:

The South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM) has confirmed that there is a shortage of yellow fever vaccinations in South Africa. SASTM and the Department of Health are currently working together to put together information for travellers heading to countries that require yellow fever vaccinations and this information should be available by the end of the week.

According to sources at Sanofi Pasteur, the makers of the vaccine, the shortage was caused by over ordering by travel clinics after it was revealed by the World Health Organization that it had recommended that Zambia be added to the list of countries requiring the vaccine, although this has not yet been made law by the South African government. Travel clinics have, however, since reportedly been inundated with travellers heading to those regions wanting the vaccine. The situation has been further complicated by the fact that there are only two factories that make the vaccine, one in France and one in Dakar, Senegal, which has been closed for refurbishment. In the meantime, Sanofi Pasteur has secured 40 000 doses of the vaccine, which they are expecting by the second week of August, pending approval by the Medical Council to bring the vaccine into the country. Sanofi has also managed to fast track the order that was supposed to be delivered at the end of September, beginning of October, to the end of August.

Some inoculations are still currently available in Claremont and Somerset West but elsewhere in South Africa there aren’t any left. The Netcare Travel Clinics received notification this morning that they can issue Yellow Fever Exemption Certificates to travellers going to Zanzibar and Zambia. In light of the shortage, clinics will only give what little yellow fever vaccinations they have to travellers heading to endemic areas. Travellers are advised to contact their travel clinic regarding other preventative measures they can take should they be heading to areas that do not fall under the ‘endemic regions’

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