Emergencies preparedness, response

Eliminating Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy: Meeting demand for yellow fever vaccines

A joint statement by WHO, UNICEF and Gavi


29 January 2018 - Vaccination is the most powerful known measure for yellow fever prevention: a single dose can provide life-long immunity at a cost of approximately US$1. Ensuring adequate vaccine supply is available to reach all those at-risk is a constant challenge and the main purpose of the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy partnership, steered by WHO, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Yellow Fever vaccines are currently manufactured by four WHO-prequalified suppliers. Since 2001, annual yellow fever vaccine production has quadrupled from 20 million to 80 million doses. Output is estimated to increase even further in the coming years. Through the EYE partnership, 1,4 billion yellow fever vaccine doses are expected to be delivered to countries with high yellow fever risk by 2026.

Despite efforts to increase yellow fever vaccine production, there is still a risk that supply will fail to meet demand in Africa if demand reaches the highest projected levels, according to a Gavi study1. In seeking to address this eventuality, the EYE Partnership works closely with manufacturers and yellow fever at-risk countries to plan and ensure vaccines are available in the locations and volume required.

Expanded needs for yellow fever vaccine are a result of a resurgence of yellow fever epidemics in Africa and more recently in Latin America. These resurgences are due to a combination of changing epidemiology and other risk factors including population movement and climate change. These needs are being addressed through routine immunization, preventive mass campaigns, catch-up campaigns (where vaccine coverage is low) and outbreak response (when vaccines need to be supplied rapidly to avoid further spread of the disease).

The International Coordination Group (ICG) coordinates the timely and equitable provision of vaccines during outbreaks. It maintains an emergency stockpile of 6 million doses of yellow fever vaccine funded by Gavi, which is continually replenished.

Demand for yellow fever vaccine has also increased in recent years due to the growing number of countries implementing routine immunization programmes with the support of Gavi. Another important part of the rising demand is the result of efforts, carried out within the framework of the EYE Strategy, to guarantee that yellow fever at-risk countries effectively implement preventive mass vaccination campaigns of all age groups, which frequently require large supply.

With the aim of identifying areas at highest risk, a comprehensive risk analysis and prioritization methodology is being developed to identify areas which should be given priority for preventive mass campaigns. An inaugural meeting on this topic was held on 14-15 December 2017 gathering global experts in WHO, Geneva. Outcomes from the meeting, including risk maps, will support EYE to optimize the allocation of vaccine resources.

Within the framework of the EYE Strategy, detailed plans for vaccine roll-out based on epidemiological risks and priorities are being elaborated. They will support the matching of vaccine supply and demand. This effort is informed by previous work in this area, such as the introduction of the Meningococcal meningitis A vaccine in Africa (MenAfriVac), in 2011, an example of vaccine stock management within the framework of an integrated disease and outbreak control strategy.

WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and all EYE partners are committed to ensuring that every person at-risk of yellow fever is protected. Through combined effort, we are confident that yellow fever epidemics can be eliminated by 2026, and that vaccine supplies can be managed to adequately meet demand.

*About the EYE Strategy: The Global Strategy to Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) is a comprehensive, long-term strategy built on lessons learned, that aims to end yellow fever epidemics by 2026. The strategy is guided by three strategic objectives: (1) protect at-risk populations; (2) prevent international spread of yellow fever and; (3) contain outbreaks rapidly. These objectives are underpinned by five competencies of success: (i) affordable vaccines and sustained vaccine market; (ii) strong political commitment at global, regional and country levels; (iii) high-level governance with long-term partnerships; (iv) synergies with other health programmes and sectors and; (v) research and development for better tools and practices.

1 Gavi Yellow Fever Supply and Procurement Roadmap

This page links all WHO technical and general information on yellow fever

International Coordinating Group (ICG) for Vaccine Provision

The ICG is a mechanism to coordinate the provision of emergency vaccine supplies to countries during major outbreaks. The ICG is composed of four member agencies: MSF, IFRC, UNICEF and WHO. In addition to these members, additional expertise and technical advice is provided on a case-by-case basis from a range of partners.

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