• Many countries require proof of vaccination against yellow fever before they will issue visas.
• Kenyans were last year warned against conmen injecting people with water instead of the vaccine.
Kenyans will get yellow fever jabs at no cost, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.
CS Sicily Kariuki told a Health and Security conference in Nairobi, “I will make sure issuing a yellow fever card becomes almost zero in terms of cost and remove the incentives that have been put by people who have found this a place to make money."
Yellow fever vaccines are commercially available at Sh1,500 in ports of entry, public health units and selected clinics in Nairobi and Kisumu.
Early last year, Kenyans were warned that rogue health officers were injecting travellers with water instead of the vaccine.
“We have had infiltration by crooks issuing yellow fever vaccine certificates pretending it is all fine and we have fallen short of the global report because we want to take shortcuts, go to River Road, get a quick yellow fever card and stamp then get away with it,” Kariuki said.
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Its symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
Occasionally, travellers from yellow fever endemic countries may bring the disease to countries free from the disease.
To prevent the importation of the disease, many countries require proof of vaccination against yellow fever before they issue a visa, particularly if travellers are from or have visited yellow fever endemic areas.
The vaccination is administered at least 10 days before arrival.
“It is for this reason that soon I will be gazetting the new guidelines for yellow fever card issuance and signage after inspection of the facilities that would be allowed to issue yellow fever cards,” the CS said.
According to the World Health Organisation, a single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection.
The disease is difficult to diagnose, especially during the early stages.
A more severe case can be confused with severe malaria, leptospirosis, viral hepatitis (especially fulminant forms), other haemorrhagic fevers, infection with other flaviviruses (such as dengue haemorrhagic fever) and poisoning.
The CS reiterated the need for the public to be educated on the impact of the shortcut they take.
The occasion was also attended by Defence CS Raychelle Omamo and National Assembly Health Committee chairperson Sabina Chege.
(Edited by R.Wamochie)