The World Health Organization will change its guidelines to recommend using partial doses of the yellow fever vaccine during emergencies as a result of new clinical trial data.
According to the results of a recent study led by Médecins Sans Frontiéres research arm Epicentre, published in The Lancet, giving people a fraction of a yellow fever vaccine is effective and could help vaccinate millions more people during emergencies.
This was contained in a statement issued by Field Communication Officer Abdulkareem Yakubu.
These clinical trial results, which found that giving a person one-fifth of the standard yellow fever vaccine dose is effective and safe, will make it easier for governments and international organizations to prevent people from getting sick from yellow fever during outbreaks in times of vaccine shortage.
Médecins Sans Frontiéres international medical coordinator Myriam Henkens said that vaccination is the most important measure for preventing the disease and it prevent the yellow fever epidemics hit, countries and MSF need to access vaccines urgently.
The Epicenter study, in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute, Institut Pasteur de Dakar, and the WHO, was a randomized, double-blind trial in Mbarara, Uganda and Kilifi, Kenya conducted between November 6, 2017 and February 21, 2018.
During this period, researchers administered either one-fifth or a standard dose of yellow fever vaccine to 960 adults between the ages of 18 and 59 years old. People receiving one-fifth of the dose were found to have an immunological response that was considered non-inferior to the standard dose.
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne acute viral hemorrhagic fever that causes 30,000 deaths per year, most of which occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the disease is on the rise in Central and South America.
While this infection is asymptomatic or causes only mild symptoms in many people, a small percentage of those infected experience a more toxic stage of the disease that can cause internal bleeding and severe damage to the liver and kidneys.
Approximately half the people who enter this stage of yellow fever die within a few days