CHENNAI: Visitors to African and South American nations where yellow fever is endemic can breathe a sigh of relief. Vaccination for the disease, stopped since March due to a shortage of vaccines, resumed in the city on Thursday. Over the past two days, scores of travellers have been queuing up at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine, one of the two recognised centres in the state, to get vaccination certificates.
According to WHO norms, all passengers flying to the 23 African countries and 11 South American nations listed should get yellow fever shots. India is free from the disease, but people visiting these countries have to be immunised to obtain travel visas.
Since March there has been a shortage of yellow fever vaccines due to an interruption in the WHO supply and a breakdown in equipment at the Central Research Institute in Kasauli. A July 19 TOI report said several travellers were obtaining fake vaccination certificates and some were procuring vaccines from the black market. It said such practices posed a public health risk.
The Union health ministry recently announced that yellow fever vaccine supplies had arrived. Vaccination at all centres would resume soon, it added.
The King Institute began administering the vaccines on Thursday. “We received 1,000 doses and in the past two days we have vaccinated 590 people. Normally, we receive 100-150 people every week,” said Dr Gunasekaran, director of the institute. Vaccination for yellow fever is administered at the King Institute on Fridays and at the Port Trust Health Office on Mondays and Wednesdays.