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Sigh of relief for travellers as WHO finds yellow fever jab good for lifetime

Friday August 12 2016

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu (left) with Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Lily Koros when the CS visited the hospital. The ministry has issued new circular on yellow fever certificate for Kenyan visitors in line with new WHO discovery that the vaccination jab against give lifetime protection. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu (left) with Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Lily Koros when the CS visited the hospital. The ministry has issued new circular on yellow fever certificate for Kenyan visitors in line with new WHO discovery that the vaccination jab against give lifetime protection. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ELIZABETH MERAB
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Kenyans will no longer have to go through the process of renewing their yellow fever certificates following a directive by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that a single jab gives lifelong protection against the disease.

Previously, the certificate lasted for ten years and once it expired, holders of the international certificate of vaccination were required to renew the document by receiving a booster dose shot of the vaccine.

But following a circular issued on Friday evening by the Ministry of Health, foreigners coming into the country will not be required to get new certificates once the ten years lapse.

Similarly, the ministry said, Kenyans whose certificates are still valid will also not be subjected to re-vaccination.

However, Kenyans travelling abroad may need to renew their certificates unless their destination countries (which require proof of vaccination) issue similar directives.

Validity of the certificate of vaccination against the serious viral infection that is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito will now start from ten days after an individual has been vaccinated and will last for life, the government has said.

“Those with existing valid certificate will not be subjected to any other yellow fever vaccination,” read the statement signed by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu.

Dr Mailu also issued a list of about 23 specific centres where people can get the yellow fever jab.

These are ports of entry like Kilindini Port (Mombasa), all airports (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Moi, Eldoret, Kisumu, Malindi, Lokichogio, Wajir and Wilson airports), one stop border posts (Taveta, Lungalunga, Namanga, Isebania, Malaba, Busia and Loitoktok).

“Apart from the points of entry, one can also get the jab at Government hospitals (Kenyatta National Hospital and Armed Forces Memorial Hospital) and finally at health facilities operated by county health authorities at county headquarters (Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret),” added Dr Mailu.

The ministry’s announcement follows an amendment made to the international health regulations (IHR 2005) after WHO found that a single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to give sustained immunity and lifelong protection against the disease, therefore making a booster dose unnecessary.

(Editing by Joel Muinde)