France (Precision vaccinations)
To meet yellow fever vaccination needs, the Stamaril vaccine will continue to be available in the US through mid-2021.
As announced by Sanofi Pasteur in France on December 23, 2020, the US FDA has agreed to approve the distribution of Stamaril via an Extended Access Program (EAP) during the YF-VAX vaccine shortage. This EAP is expected to be effective by mid-2021.
The EAP allows Stamaril to be imported and used until YF-VAX vaccine production meets consumer demand. And should meet yellow fever vaccination needs for U.S. military personnel and international travelers.
Stamaril is a live, attenuated yellow fever vaccine that is registered and sold in over 70 countries, but is still not licensed in the United States.
“We are making every effort to ensure that US yellow fever vaccination continues during this interruption in YF-VAX vaccine supplies,” said a Sanofi press release.
A US EAP is similar to a clinical trial, and a limited number of clinical sites can participate in this program. More than 250 locations in the United States were selected in this program.
The YF-VAX vaccine is given to people aged nine months and over who are at risk of developing yellow fever to prevent them from developing the disease.
The yellow fever virus occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. It is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by a virus transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
The symptoms of yellow fever, such as fever, chills, headache, back pain, and muscle pain, occur 3-6 days after infection. About 15% of people infected with the yellow fever virus develop a serious illness that can lead to liver disease, bleeding, shock, organ failure, and yellowish skin and is sometimes fatal.
People over the age of 60 and people with compromised immune systems may be at a higher risk of developing these side effects.
For international travelers, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes information on this website about which countries are required to have a yellow fever vaccination for entry and which countries the CDC recommends yellow fever vaccination.
As a current example, the CDC issued a level 2 alert on November 30, 2020 regarding a yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria. Travelers to Nigeria should therefore prevent yellow fever by getting vaccinated at least ten days before travel and taking measures to avoid mosquito bites.
The Nigerian outbreak is currently occurring in the states of Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi and Enugu. Travelers shouldn’t visit these areas unless they’re vaccinated, the CDC says.
International travelers should be given a yellow card known as the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) to prove they have been vaccinated. The vaccination certificate is only valid ten days after receiving the vaccine. So plan to get the vaccine early if you need it.
In some countries, all travelers are required to show proof of a yellow fever vaccination before they can enter the country. In other countries, proof of vaccination is only required if travelers have been in a risk area. So if you are visiting multiple countries the order of trips may be required.
Unfortunately, there are fake ICVP certificates around the world.
“We estimate that around 80% of yellow fever travel cards in Zimbabwe are counterfeit,” said Dr. Mchechesi, co-founder and head of innovation at Vaxiglobal, a travel health consultancy.
“It is often impossible for busy border guards to check the names of doctors and the alleged location of vaccinations by phone or email,” added Dr. Mchechesi added.
International travelers should speak to a qualified yellow fever vaccine provider before traveling to high-risk countries, according to the CDC.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based news.