Published Date: 2013-05-06 10:24:24
Subject: PRO> Yellow fever risk – India
Archive Number: 20130506.1693617
Date: Sat 4 May 2013
Source: Times of India, Times News Network (TNN) [edited]
This is certainly not a shot in the arm for those travelling to African countries. Non-availability of yellow fever vaccine is turning out to be a major hindrance to them with the vaccine going out of stock in the state.
For travelling to an African country, it is mandatory to submit a yellow certificate along with visa papers at the immigration and emigration counters.
The yellow certificate is issued to tourists by authorised port health organisations and select private hospitals after the person has been vaccinated at least 2 weeks before the travel.
“I was to travel on 6-17 May  to the African region. My work requires me to travel to Dhaka and then go back to Ethiopia. So taking that vaccine is a must. But due to its non-availability, I am not able to travel,” said a business consultant for the World Bank.
He said this had affected the travel plans and jobs of several people who have to visit these countries. With Gulf countries almost reaching its peak for skilled workers, Africa is the new destination for them.
The vaccine is normally available at the port health organisation office in Kochi for Rs 300 [USD 5.57]. But when one calls the office these days, the standard reply is ‘out of stock’.
When one asks where it could be available, the reply is, “If it is urgent, you may buy [Stamaril — yellow fever vaccine] from a medical shop for Rs 1500 [USD 28]. Please buy the kit and bring it here. You can take the vaccine and will be issued certificate from here.”
[The business consultant] said the non-availability of vaccine had also affected those hoping to join the Merchant Navy.
“We have been getting a lot of calls for this vaccine. But there is a shortage for the last one month. It is not available even with the stockists,” said an official at Kunhalu’s nursing home, an authorized hospital for issuing the certificate.
Travel agents said the certificate could be given even without administering the vaccine as countries claim to have eradicated yellow fever but the chances of tourists getting an infection are always there.
[Byline: Sudha Nambudiri]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[One hopes that Indian health authorities are fully aware of the public health risk that issuance of yellow fever vaccination cards to travelers without application of the vaccine brings to the country. Should unvaccinated individuals become infected in Africa and travel back to India while viremic they could initiate ongoing transmission in a country that has been free of YF historically. India has dengue virus transmission ongoing every year. The same mosquitoes are involved in transmission of dengue and of yellow fever viruses. Although the risk of introduction of YF virus into India is probably slight, the consequences, should that happen, would be very serious. – Mod.TY
Comment: Not only the government centers, but now even the private clinics no longer have Yellow Fever Vaccine available, putting travelers (& the country) at grave risk. I am getting at least 50 call a day asking for the Yellow Fever vaccine!
As far as we have been told by vaccine manufacturer, India is likely to get stock of Stamaril (Yellow fever vaccine) by May end.