Two million yellow fever vaccines arrived in Paraguay
Asunción, February 25, 2008- In response to the emergency which was declared by the Paraguayan Government after cases of yellow fever appeared, 2 million anti-yellow-fever vaccinations, plus the respective syringes arrived in a charter flight organized by the UNICEF Logistic Office in Copenhagen, on Sunday at 3:20 am.
The President of Paraguay, Nicanor Duarte Frutos, the Minister of Health, and UNICEF Representative, Carlos Mazuera, together with technical personnel received the 2 million doses of vaccinations, which the government had bought from the global reserve for yellow fever emergencies with the support from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The Government invested US$ 3 million in this purchase.
Additionally, the flight carried 1000 special thermoses, which were donated by UNICEF for the conservation and transportation of vaccines.
The vaccinations departed from Brussels on Saturday 23, at 13:00, and arrived in Paraguay at 3:20 early Sunday morning, in the cargo flight BB3601, specially hired for this purpose (Cargo B Airline, Brussels).
Up to the present date, 66 suspicious cases were registered of which 25 were ruled out, 15 cases were confirmed and 7 people have died. A 17-year-old adolescent was the youngest fatal victim. Of these suspicious cases, 26 are located in urban centers close to Asunción, and 7 cases of Yellow Fever were confirmed in the rural area around San Pedro.
All signs indicate that Paraguay is facing the first case of urban yellow fever, which had not occurred on the American continent in over 60 years. Unless pertinent measures are taken on time, in densely populated zones, the urban yellow fever is easily passed on by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti.
The vaccinations arrived just on time, considering that 750,000 people were immunized in a little under a week, and that only 250, 000 vaccinations are left of the 1 million doses brought in from the past weekend to the present date by Latin American countries such as Brazil, Peru and Venezuela.
The demand exceeded the offer, but with the arrival of two million vaccinations it should be possible to immunize practically the entire population of densely populated zones who are at risk, such as the capital and the Central Department (around 2 million people). Furthermore, the arrival of 2 million vaccinations allows them to continue vaccinating in border zones of San Pedro.
The government’s prevention strategy, supported by international organizations including UNICEF, approaches the issue by vaccinating municipalities which registered cases of yellow fever or suspicious cases, plus their neighboring municipalities, on the one hand, and by eliminating the mosquito transmitter (Aedes Aegypti) as well as its larvae’s creators, on the other hand.
The vaccinations arrived in Paraguay through the collaboration of the Supply Division at a global level, located in the city of Copenhagen, which is in charge of purchasing goods such as vaccinations, syringes, medication, medical equipment, as well distributing them at the international level.
In Paraguay, this United Nations agency recently cooperated with the Ministry of Health by supplying 295 special thermometers as well as 10 sets of Data Loggers to achieve 100% of the national and regional vaccination warehouses of the Amplified Immunization Program (PAI) to have optimum conditions to monitor the temperature and the conservation of the vaccinations. In prior years the UN agency collaborated, among others, in the purchase of 1500 thermoses to store vaccinations.
The cooperation of UNICEF in the area of immunization reaches 40% of all children worldwide.
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