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Mass polio, measles vaccine program for Somalia | Reuters Video.

[Posted October 8, 2020]

Amid ongoing outbreaks of measles and polio, a campaign by the Somali government and international organizations has seen 492,000 children vaccinated. Soraya Ali reports.

View Video [2:20] at https://uk.reuters.com/video/watch/idOVCZ9XMCZ


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Adenoviral Vector-Based Vaccine Platforms for Developing the Next Generation of Influenza Vaccines | Vaccines.

[Open Access] [Received: 2 August 2020 / Revised: 6 September 2020 / Accepted: 17 September 2020 / Published: 1 October 2020]

Abstract.

Ever since the discovery of vaccines, many deadly diseases have been contained worldwide, ultimately culminating in the eradication of smallpox and polio, which represented significant medical achievements in human health. However, this does not account for the threat influenza poses on public health. The currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines primarily confer excellent strain-specific protection. In addition to the seasonal influenza viruses, the emergence and spread of avian influenza pandemic viruses such as H5N1, H7N9, H7N7, and H9N2 to humans have highlighted the urgent need to adopt a new global preparedness for an influenza pandemic. It is vital to explore new strategies for the development of effective vaccines for pandemic and seasonal influenza viruses. The new vaccine approaches should provide durable and broad protection with the capability of large-scale vaccine production within a short time. The adenoviral (Ad) vector-based vaccine platform offers a robust egg-independent production system for manufacturing large numbers of influenza vaccines inexpensively in a short timeframe. In this review, we discuss the progress in the development of Ad vector-based influenza vaccines and their potential in designing a universal influenza vaccine.


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Yemen Humanitarian Update Issue 9 (September 2020) | ReliefWeb.

[Situation Report] [Source: OCHA] [Posted: 7 Oct 2020] [Originally Published: 7 Oct 2020]

HIGHLIGHTS.

Fuel crisis increases food prices and continues to restrict the aid operation P 02

Health update P 03

Partners finalize Marib preparedness plan P 04

Exchange rate in southern governorates reaches all-time low P 05

CERF funding boosts COVID-19 response and underfunded health programmes

Lack of funding cripples the aid operation.

Fifteen of 41 major United Nations humanitarian programmes in hard-hit Yemen have already been reduced or shut down and 30 more will be affected in coming weeks unless additional funding is received.

“It’s an impossible situation,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, in a statement on 23 September. “This is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world yet we don’t have the resources we need to save the people who are suffering and will die if we don’t help. The consequences of underfunding are immediate, enormous and devastating,” she added. “Nearly every humanitarian worker has had to tell a hungry family or someone who is ill that we can’t help them because we don’t have funding.”

Between April and August, agencies were forced to reduce food distributions, cut health services in more than 300 facilities and halt specialized services for hundreds of thousands of traumatized and highly vulnerable women and girls.

Some 9 million people have been impacted by reductions in food assistance since April. A further 1.37 million will be affected from December unless additional funding is secured. A reduction in nutrition services in July affected more than 334,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women. If additional funding is not received, nutrition services for up to 530,000 children under age 2 may occur from December.

As of September, WHO has ended the Minimum Service Package (MSP) in 121 facilities, which has affected 1 million people. This is in addition to 1.3 million people deprived of access to life-saving health care services through the MSP due to cuts to the health sector since April, when WHO had to stop incentives payments to more than 1,800 medical staff delivering MSP in 135 facilities. If resources are not provided by the end of the year, a total of 9 million people will lose access to basic health care services.

In terms of outbreak control and response, if funding is not received by October, preparedness, surveillance and pre-positioning of supplies for outbreak response including diphtheria and dengue will stop across 23 Governorates. Up to 60 per cent of the 174 existing cholera treatment facilities (174 centres) and 100 per cent of the 300 existing preparedness and medical centres (300 facilities) will close. All 333 district rapid response teams will cease to perform core functions, including case investigation and outbreak monitoring. As many as 18 million people will be impacted, including 6 million children urgently in need of vaccination against deadly diseases like measles and polio.

“Donors have been incredibly generous during the war, providing billions of dollars to support people who have nowhere to go and no one else to turn to,” said Ms. Grande. “But this year, we are falling short, way short, of what we need.” By the end of September, only $1.3 billion of the $3.2 billion needed in 2020 had been received. “We can overcome this crisis if everyone contributes,” said Ms. Grande. “Everyone has a role.”

“We need authorities to put in place the conditions that allow humanitarians to deliver aid in accordance with universal humanitarian principles. We need parties to the conflict to lift the blockade and do everything possible to minimize the impact of the war on families and communities. We ask that donors stand in solidarity with the people of Yemen, dig deep and continue to provide the resources we need.”

“Humanitarians are doing their part. We are on the ground every day, working in one of the toughest environments and under some of the most difficult conditions, delivering assistance to millions of Yemenis,” said Ms. Grande. “This is an operation with real impact. Humanitarians helped to rollback famine two years ago and we’ve worked with authorities to stem the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. We can do more, and we want to do more—but we need the right conditions and we need funding.”

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.


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Afghanistan: Weekly Humanitarian Update (28 September – 4 October 2020) | ReliefWeb.

[Situation Report] [Source: OCHA] [Posted: 7 Oct 2020] [Originally Published: 7 Oct 2020]

North-east: 22,400 people displaced by fighting.

Clashes continued in Yawan district in Badakhshan province, Baharak district of Takhar province and Fereng district in Baghlan province. The ongoing fighting reportedly resulted in the new displacement of 3,200 households (about 22,400 people) from Ali Abad district to the centre of the district and Kunduz city in Kunduz province. A total of 16 interagency assessment teams have been deployed to assess the needs of displaced people. This week, interagency assessment teams identified 910 households (approximately 6,370 people) displaced by conflict to receive humanitarian assistance in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar provinces. Humanitarian assistance reached 2,198 households (approximately 15,323 people) affected by conflict in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar provinces. In addition, 1,043 vulnerable and foodinsecure people were reached with humanitarian assistance in Kunduz province.

East: Clashes result in dozens of civilians casualties.

Military clashes, including airstrikes, between Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and a non-state armed group (NSAG) continued in Laghman Province in the Alishang/Alingar areas. On 3 October, 22 people, including children were reportedly killed by a Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (SVBIED) detonation in the Ghani Khel area, Shinwar District, Nangarhar province, an additional 40 to 50 people were reportedly injured. On 5 October, eight people were reportedly killed and more than 20 injured by an explosion in Mihtarlam, Laghman Province.

During the reporting period, interagency assessment teams identified 8,645 internally displaced persons (IDPs) as being in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. This week, 7,308 people affected by conflict including people affected by COVID-19 received humanitarian assistance in Nangarhar, Nuristan, Laghman and Kunar provinces. A total of 8,412 returnees, IDPs and people from host communities were reached with emergency outpatient health services and 4,929 children were vaccinated for polio and measles. 13 mobile health teams providing nutrition support were deployed to several areas in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces that are hosting people who were displaced by conflict and affected by natural disasters. As part of the nutrition response in areas hosting new IDPs and returnees, 2,009 children under five were medically screened. Of this number, 60 children suffered from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) while 108 children suffered from Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). Severe cases were admitted into the therapeutic feeding centre for treatment. In addition, 94 children were provided with vitamin A and 165 children received deworming tablets.

North: 1,561 people received humanitarian assistance.

The security situation remained volatile, with the number of security incidents increasing to 101 compared to 98 in the previous reporting period. Armed clashes continued between ANSF and an NSAG mainly in Balkh, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Jawzjan and Samangan provinces. Interagency assessment teams identified 1,561 people displaced by conflict in Balkh, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul and Jawzjan provinces to receive aid in the coming days. A total of, 4,263 people including people in protracted displacement, returnees and people in the host community received hygiene supplies and COVID-19 prevention information across the north mainly in Faryab province.

South: Increased fighting resulted in civilian displacement and casualties.

The security situation remained volatile and hostilities intensified between ANSF and an NSAG mainly in Kandahar, Hilmand and Uruzgan provinces. In Kandahar, IEDs and ongoing armed conflict in Maywand, Maruf, Arghestan, Shah Wali Kot, Nesh and some parts of Zheray and Panjwayi districts resulted in the restriction of civilian movements. According to initial reports from local authorities, nearly 300 people were displaced from Shah Wali Kot to Kandahar city. Humanitarians verifying the needs of IDPs. In Hilmand province, conflict resulted in the displacement of thousands of people in Nad-e-Ali, Lashkargah district. Humanitarian partners in Hilmand are monitoring the situation closely. In Uruzgan province, on 25 September, nearly 52 civilians including women and children were reportedly wounded and killed during clashes between ANSF and an NSAG in Dehrawud district.

Insecurity has also reportedly escalated in Gizab district. Conflict in the District Administrative Centre has reportedly subsided and the health facility has partially resumed services, however, people have yet to return to their homes. Interagency assessments of people displaced by conflict are ongoing in Kandahar, Hilmand, Zabul and Nimorz provinces while access negotiation has been initiated in Uruzgan for people displaced within Dehrawud. On 1 October, a humanitarian partner distributed 700 PPE kits to the Ayno COVID-19 hospital in Kandahar province.

West: 2,722 people received humanitarian aid.

The security situation continued to deteriorate in the west with at least six people killed and three wounded, including two children killed and one wounded by IEDs and crossfire in Ghor and Farah provinces. According to local authorities, around 16,980 undocumented people returned to Afghanistan from Iran from 19 to 26 September of whom 769 people received humanitarian assistance at the point of entry and a transit centre in Hirat province. A total of, 1,953 people affected by the conflict in Hirat, Ghor and Farah provinces received emergency humanitarian assistance, including food and relief items, hygiene supplies and multi-purpose cash.

Centre: Civilian casualties from IED detonations.

The overall security situation remained volatile and unstable. The main roads connecting Gardez to Kabul and Kabul to Maidan Wardak province remained insecure affecting civilian movements. On 29 September, 14 civilians including seven women and five children were reportedly killed and three others were wounded, when their vehicle was hit by a roadside IED in the Dashti Kariz area of Kajran district in Daykundi province. Reportedly, two civilians were wounded when a rocket hit their house in the Nawabad area, Ghazni province. Also, six civilians were wounded by an IED in Mujahid square of Khost city in Khost province. In Khost city, three more civilians were reportedly killed by an SVBIED detonation. In Maidan Wardak, one civilian was reportedly killed and two others wounded when a rocket landed in a residential area. 1,974 people were identified to receive humanitarian assistance in Ghazni and Paktya provinces. Around 8,325 people from different part of the country were reportedly displaced to Kabul and Logar provinces due to conflict during August and September. 2,016 people affected by floods received assistance in Logar and Maidan Wardak provinces while needs assessments of people affected by floods in Baraki Barak district in Logar are ongoing. 1,729 people were identified to receive assistance so far.

For further information, please contact:
Linda Tom, Public Information Officer, OCHA Afghanistan, toml@un.org, Cell: +93 79300 11 10
For more information, please visit: unocha.org | reliefweb.int
facebook.com/UNOCHAAfghanistan | twitter.com/OCHAAfg

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.


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Anti-vaxxer misinformation goes viral in Philippines | Bangkok Post.

[7 OCT 2020 AT 17:30] [AFP]

This Sept 21, 2020 photo shows a municipal health worker applying drops of a polio vaccine to child at a relocation site for informal settlers in San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan province, north of Manila. (AFP)This Sept 21, 2020 photo shows a municipal health worker applying drops of a polio vaccine to child at a relocation site for informal settlers in San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan province, north of Manila. (AFP)

Online misinformation is leaching out from cheap mobile phones and free Facebook plans used by millions in the Philippines, convincing many to reject vaccinations for polio and other deadly diseases.

Childhood immunisation rates have plummeted in the country -- from 87% in 2014 to 68% -- resulting in a measles epidemic and the reemergence of polio last year.

A highly politicised campaign that led to the withdrawal of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in 2017 is widely seen as one of the main drivers of the fall.

But health experts also point to an explosion of vaccination-related misinformation that has undermined confidence in all types of immunisations.

In the northern city of Tarlac, government nurse Reeza Patriarca watched with horror the impacts of Facebook posts that falsely claimed five people had died after receiving an unspecified vaccination.

The posts, which have been shared thousands of times, went online in August, weeks after the relaunch of a World Health Organization-backed polio immunisation drive.

The Tarlac government and national health department issued statements saying no one had died, but Patriarca said the misinformation proved stronger than the truth for many parents.

"It spread like crazy. In the second week, more and more people were refusing," said Patriarca, 27, whose health unit was administering the vaccine across nine neighbourhoods.

"Some believed the (government) explanation, others didn't. We couldn't force them."

The false report in Tarlac even deterred people from getting free flu jabs in the nearby city of San Jose del Monte.

Health worker Rosanna Robianes said elderly people who would normally queue at her centre for their shot did not show up.

"They said it's because of Facebook, that there's a report that people who had been vaccinated in Tarlac had died," she said.

- 'Toxic to humans' -

Interest in online anti-vaccine content has surged during the pandemic as scientists around the world have raced to develop an effective inoculation.

The number of followers of anti-vaccine groups and pages on Facebook in the Philippines has risen by 190,000 to around 500,000, according to social media monitoring platform CrowdTangle's latest data.

The pages have attracted eight million interactions -- reactions, comments and shares -- since the pandemic began.

April Villa, a 40-year-old mother of two from the northern province of Laguna, is part of the anti-vaxxer movement.

Villa follows the Facebook group "NO TO VACCINE - PHILIPPINES", which was created in July and has more than 2,000 members.

She said she joined the group to access "information which our education system could never teach".

"It's toxic to the human body, it kills the natural antibodies," Villa told AFP, explaining her views on vaccines, adding she would refuse a Covid-19 shot if one became available.

- Fear factor -

Most of the Philippines' 73 million internet users have a Facebook account, according to Britain-based media consultancy We Are Social.

Nearly all of them access the site on their mobile phones, where Facebook offers free data to access a limited version of its platform and other selected websites.

Many poorer Filipinos rely on Facebook's Free Basics plan to use the internet, trapping them in the social media giant's information bubble.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has defended the service, saying it gives people who could not otherwise afford it an opportunity to use the internet.

Posts about President Rodrigo Duterte flooded Facebook in 2016 and were seen as playing a key role in his election victory -- and officials say the site has been a boon for anti-vaxxer groups too.

Wilda Silva, the health department's immunisation programme manager, said fake news about vaccines "travels faster and wider than correct information".

"Once you tap that fear factor, people's minds quickly change and the fear stays long in their minds," said Silva, who worries there may be a big outbreak of preventable diseases next year.

Public fears could also affect the take-up of a Covid-19 vaccine -- even among people who support inoculations -- in a country facing the highest infection rates in Southeast Asia.

"I trust vaccines 100%," said Jett Bucho, from a poor neighbourhood of San Jose del Monte, after her one-year-old daughter was immunised against polio.

But the 26-year-old said online conspiracy theories that a coronavirus vaccine could be used to implant chips and control humans had planted a seed of doubt in her mind.

"On Facebook, if you keep scrolling, you see this," she said.

"It's scary."


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CIMAF Ghana support Kpone Akatamanso health directorate in Polio immunisation exercise | Joy Online.

[7 October 2020 3:54pm]

Another strain of the virus that causes Polio or Paralyzes is spreading across 16 African countries including Ghana.

So far more than 170 children have been paralyzed between July 2019 and August 2020. Out of this figure, 31 is reported here in Ghana.

Producers of Cimaf Cement has partnered with the Health Directorate of Kpone Katamanso Municipality to immunise children in the catchment area which is also the operational location of the company.

As Ghana Health Service and teams of health volunteers prepare to immunize children under five years through a vaccination exercise from the 8th to 11th October against polio across Ghana, Staff of Cimaf is supporting this cause with cash to aid GHS and Its volunteers in the Kpone Katamanso Municipality in this exercise.

CMAF

Speaking to the media, The Director of Sales and Marketing, Mr Joseph Kobina Aboo said Cimaf have a responsibility to help people especially children in the area which they operate hence the acceptance to support this good cause.

The Municipal Health Director Dr Esther Priscilla Biama Dankwa urged parents to make available their children for this all important health exercise so that Africa can see an end to all types of polio.


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Immunogenicity of seasonal inactivated influenza and inactivated polio vaccines among children in Senegal: Results from a cluster-randomized trial | Vaccine.

[Pay to View Full Text] [Received 15 May 2020, Revised 25 August 2020, Accepted 20 September 2020, Available online 2 October 2020] [In Press, Corrected Proof]

Highlights.

* Influenza vaccine immunogenicity was assessed as part of a cluster-randomized trial.

* Children aged 6 months through 8 years in rural Senegal were enrolled.

* Inactivated influenza vaccines were immunogenic in Senegalese children.

* Seroconversion rates are higher for older children and with influenza A antigens.

* Antigenically naïve children have lower post-vaccine geometric mean titers.

Abstract.

Data on influenza vaccine immunogenicity in children are limited from tropical developing countries. We recently reported significant, moderate effectiveness of a trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) in a controlled, cluster-randomized trial in children in rural Senegal during 2009, a year of H3N2 vaccine mismatch (NCT00893906). We report immunogenicity of IIV3 and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) from that trial. We evaluated hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) and polio antibody titers in response to vaccination of three age groups (6 through 35 months, 3 through 5 years, and 6 through 8 years). As all children were IIV naïve, each received two vaccine doses, although titers were assessed after only the first dose for subjects aged 6 through 8 years. Seroconversion rates (4-fold titer rise or increase from <1:10 to ≥1:40) were 74–87% for A/H1N1, 76–87% for A/H3N2, and 54–79% for B/Yamagata. Seroprotection rates (HAI titer ≥ 1:40) were 79–88% for A/H1N1, 88–96% for A/H3N2, and 52–74% for B/Yamagata. IIV responses were lowest in the youngest age group, and they were comparable between ages 3 through 5 years after two doses and 6 through 8 years after one dose. We found that baseline seropositivity (HAI titer ≥ 1:10) was an effect modifier of IIV response. Using a seroprotective titer (HAI titer ≥ 1:160) recommended for IIV evaluation in children, we found that among subjects who were seropositive at baseline, 69% achieved seroprotection for both A/H1N1 and A/H3N2, while among those who were seronegative at baseline, seroprotection was achieved in 11% for A/H1N1 and 22% for A/H3N2. The IPV group had high baseline polio antibody seropositivity and appropriate responses to vaccination. Our data emphasize the importance of a two-dose IIV3 series in vaccine naïve children. IIV and IPV vaccines were immunogenic in Senegalese children.


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