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WHO to Provide Emergency Yellow Fever Vaccines on Angola-DRC Border

FILE - A researcher holds a container of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Biomedical Sciences Institute at Sao Paulo University in Brazil.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will launch emergency vaccination campaigns for Yellow Fever along the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it announced Thursday.

The WHO emphasized that preventing further international spread of the disease is the current priority.

“While WHO is working with partners and vaccine manufacturers to increase vaccine production and replenish the emergency stockpile currently being used for this outbreak, it is vital to interrupt transmission, especially in cross-border areas to rapidly bring this outbreak under control and halt further international spread,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The initial phase of the campaign will begin in July, and will focus on areas along the border with the most trade and activity to try to prevent further international spread of the disease. Working in a 75-100 kilometer belt spanning the Angola-DRC border and targeting areas such as capital city Kinshasa will create an "immune buffer to prevent further international spread" of the virus, according to the WHO.

As of June 13th, three countries, China, Kenya, and the DRC, have reported cases of Yellow Fever connected to the Angola outbreak.

So far, over 15 million doses of the Yellow Fever vaccine have been delivered to Angola and the DRC, but lack of funding, urgent need, and the difficulty of making the vaccine have resulted in significant shortages.