… new shipment to arrive soon – Public Health MinistryBy Devina SamarooA shortage of the yellow fever vaccine has struck the nation amid a mad rush to obtain the medication, in light of the recent outbreak of the disease in Angola.Dr George Norton said emergency efforts were being taken to procure more vaccines from BrazilPublic Health Minister, Dr George Norton said emergency efforts were being taken to procure more vaccines from Brazil and they were expected to arrive in Guyana within the next two weeks.The outbreak of the fatal disease in Angola prompted several countries to impose a travel requirement for the yellow fever vaccination. Guyana, as part of the Latin American region with risk of yellow fever, is listed as one of the countries whose residents would be required to be immunised and issued with a certificate prior to travel.The great inflow of persons to get vaccinated resulted in an unexpected shortage, as before, moves could be made to restock the shelves, the vaccination was depleted.According to the Berbice Regional Health Service, over 9000 yellow fever vaccines were administered within the space of three weeks in that county.Persons needing the vaccination to travel within the next 14 days are likely to delay or alter their plans, owing to the absence of the vaccine.Earlier reports indicate that the shortage being experienced was not as a result of lack of funding, but because of the global demand for the vaccine.During an interview with Guyana Times on Monday, the Public Health Minister assured that all efforts were being exhausted to ensure enough vaccines arrived in Guyana to recommence the distribution process.An advisory from the Public Health Ministry states that the supply of yellow fever vaccines which arrived in Guyana on June 17, 2016, has been depleted and that a new shipment is expected by August 30.The vaccine is only mandatory for travellers and children under one-year-old, and was being offered at all health centres across the country; nonetheless, all persons are encouraged to get vaccinated.Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud, had advised that once a person has been vaccinated, that person will be issued with a “blue card”.However, this card does not provide clearance for travel, but validates that such persons have indeed been vaccinated.A “yellow card” – which can be uplifted from the Public Health Ministry on Brickdam, the public hospitals at Suddie, New Amsterdam and Lethem, as well as the St Joseph Mercy Hospital – is a certificate of validation that you are immunised and allows you to travel to countries that impose yellow fever regulations.The vaccines are free of cost, but a fee of $1000 is required to obtain the certificate.Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by infected mosquitoes, most commonly found in parts of South America and Africa. When transmitted to humans, the yellow fever virus can damage the liver and other internal organs and can be potentially fatal.There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, but the symptoms can be treated while your body fights the virus. Headache, high temperatures and muscle pain can be treated using pain relievers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Infected persons are urged also to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.Other symptoms of yellow fever include jaundice, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.Meanwhile, the advisory from the Ministry further outlines that persons traveling to countries listed as ‘endemic’ for yellow fever (mainly in Africa and Asia) should also be in possession of a valid International Certificate of Vaccination.However, it was noted that residents of Guyana are not required to show proof of immunisation for travel to and from the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and most Caribbean and South American countries.The advisory explained too that if a person has been vaccinated at least once in their life and has the necessary documentation to prove this but is not in possession of a International Yellow Fever Vaccination Card, it is recommended that they visit the nearest regional vaccination centre to receive such.One dose of the yellow fever vaccine, even received as a child, is now valid for life according to the World Health Organisation International Health Regulations WHA67.13.