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By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After two confirmed cases of yellow fever in the State of Rio de Janeiro, the government has mobilized a massive state-wide vaccination program, however the availability at medical centers will be rationed initially, and gradually made available.

yellow fever vaccinations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
The expectation of health agencies is that the entire population of the state be immunized for yellow fever by the end of this year, photo divulgação.

Each center is expected to administer at least 250 doses per day, but the recommendation is that, until Friday (March 24th), only people with a trip planned to areas where there is a confirmed yellow fever case should receive the vaccination.

Next Saturday, all 233 posts of the municipal health network will make a day of mobilization, extending the vaccination to the entire population. The campaign will continue from next Monday, across the network.

Undersecretary Cristina Lemos, told local news outlets that the state is waiting for the Ministry of Health to send extra doses of the vaccine.

“There are [health centers] that vaccinate a little more and others a little less, depends on the operational capacity. On average, this week, they will all make 250 applications a day. Some will even do more than that. It is not an equal increase for everyone, but everyone will strive to apply at least 250 doses.”

On Saturday, according to news outlet O Globo, many Cariocas were not able to get vaccinated because of the limited number of availability. In the Municipal Health Center Milton Fontes Magarão, in Engenho de Dentro, for example, only fifty units were distributed, which quickly ran out. Lines also formed in the health centers of Tijuca, Irajá, Botafogo, Gávea and Recreio dos Bandeirantes.

The undersecretary reiterated her request that people without a trip to areas at risk wait for the start of the vaccination campaign this weekend. “We would like to count on the collaboration of the population so that the units search only the people who go to areas of record of occurrences, because we have to organize ourselves technically and within the logistical recommendations.”

Blood donors can receive yellow fever vaccinations in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Only those who donate can be vaccinated at the Rio blood center (Hemorio), photo by Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil.

Explaining, “We need to have trained technical staff, refrigerators to store a large contingent of vaccines, syringes and needles. This whole process needs some time to adjust. Adding that on Saturday the stations, which usually close at noon, will also be open in the afternoon, from 8AM to 5PM, exclusively for yellow fever vaccinations.”

Authorities clarify that the vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women; elderly people; children under nine months; People with allergies to some component of the vaccine and to eggs and their derivatives, as well as other specific conditions that a medical expert can advise.

The application is free at public health centers throughout the country. In the city of Rio, is being offered in 34 stations, but, next week, the number of units will be expanded. In private clinics, the dose costs between R$150 and R$240, according to GLOBO research.

Another option is that Hemorio will apply doses of the yellow fever vaccine as of tomorrow (March 21), but only for those that donate blood will receive the immunization. Hemorio’s capacity is 400-500 donors per day, and blood collected mainly supplies emergencies from major hospitals in the capital, maternities and other health facilities, as well as other cities when needed.

The blood center runs seven days a week, from 7AM to 6PM, at Rua Frei Caneca, n°8, Centro Rio. More information on the donation and the campaign can be obtained by calling 0800 282 0708.

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