Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage in South Africa
Sanofi, the only supplier of yellow fever vaccine (Stamaril®) in South Africa, announced that there is no vaccine available in South Africa.
They could not provide a date on which a new supply would be available to travel clinics.
Based on data from the World Health Organization and the Canadian health authorities who had a similar problem during yellow fever epidemics in Angola and Brazil and vaccine shortages in Canada, the South African Society of Travel Medicine advised travel clinics to use fractional dosing to address the problem.
A full dose of yellow fever vaccine is considered to provide immunity for life to recipients, although a one-time booster dose is advised by many expert travel health bodies globally.
Fractional dosing (one fifth of a normal dose) has been shown to provide equal immunity (Protection against yellow fever) 10 to 14 days after administration, but the duration of immunity has not been well documented and therefore SASTM, in line with the Canadians and other reputable scientific sources, will only certify the fractional dose for a period of 12 months after administration.
All recipients of a fractional dose of yellow fever vaccine must be re-vaccinated as soon as full dose vaccine becomes available and / or before they travel to a yellow fever affected country again.
The use of the vaccine in this way is off-label but the only practical, safe way in which to protect South African travellers at this point in time.
In order to make as much vaccine as possible available to our clients, we have to schedule prospective recipients in groups of four or five as the vaccine, once mixed, has to be given within six hours. One vial provides five, often only four fractional doses.
In order to only provide vaccine to travellers how absolutely have to have it for their own protection and / or to comply with the International Health Regulations, we are screening travellers and will not provide vaccine to anyone that does not actually need it for travel in the immediate future.
To this end, and in order to group recipients as explained above, we kindly request travellers who know or think that they may be eligible for vaccine, to complete the questionnaire via the link below: