Sample Essay on “A Yellow Fever Epidemic Made Worse by a Vaccine Shortage”

There are glaring weaknesses in how the world confronts infectious diseases and this has been exposed by the current attempts to fight yellow fever in Africa. Yellow fever, a mosquito-borne disease has devastated countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. The disease is not curable but there is a vaccine. World Health Organizations and other health groups have struggled to stop the spreading of the infectious with little success. Countries where the vaccines are sent mishandle the much priced vaccines. For example, Angola could not account for a million vaccine doses it received early in 2016. Lack of storage facilities in affected developing countries is also another problem affecting WHO’s ability to deal with Yellow fever. However, the main problem is that World Health Organization does not have enough vaccine doses to send out to the affected nations. It takes six months to make one vaccine batch and with only four companies in the world producing the vaccines, the nine million dose shortage by WHO cannot be helped. To solve this problem, WHO is giving people one fifth of the standard yellow fever vaccine dose and according to experts, these smaller doses should give people immunity for one year.I agree that giving smaller doses of the yellow fever vaccine will reduce casualties, prevent spreading of the disease and increase WHO’s ability to deal with a growing epidemic.

The paper“A Yellow Fever Epidemic Made Worse by a Vaccine Shortage.”deals with describing the situation’s worsening caused by the improper vaccine supply. The rapid outbreak of the disease still manages to catch the unprepared Congo and Angola. Besides, the storage conditions of the affected areas are not able to prevent the detrimental consequences as both refrigerators and syringes are absent. The only fresh decision accepted by the governments and the World Health Organization reduces to giving the frequent but lesser portions of the standard dose. The global community seems to get scared for the own lives to the considerable extent due to grasping that each neighboring country can be the next.

There is no cure for Yellow Fever; there is only a vaccine. If you get it, the disease can progress until you die. Approximately, 15% of individuals who have the disease progress to a severe form characterized by jaundice. The recent spread of the endemic arose in Angola and Luanda.The article specifies that the WHO (World Health Organization), and the public health groups have experienced difficulties in eradicating the disease. The primary challenge the health officers face is a lack of enough vaccine. There is lack of equipment; WHO and governments have not helped the situation.  In Angola, refrigeration, labs, and syringes are scarce. The situation has prevented the vaccination efforts, and therefore, it is difficult to track the infectious disease.

To make up for lack of vaccine, WHO is cutting dosages to 1/5 of standard dose. There have been less cases of Yellow Fever in the last 12 months __ Experts in the field of medicine indicate that people should receive immunity for at least 12 months while WHO give people a fifth of the standard dose. Recently, health officers campaigned to vaccinate approximately 14 million people in Congo and Angola; there are signs of improvement though the infection may spread to other countries.

Donor countries need to give money to help out. The article elaborates that developed countries such as the United States, the countries at risk, and WHO should invest more money to speed up the production process of the vaccine, and equip the – taking simple steps to stop it; up to use all to fix it. People should take the initiative to control mosquitoes by getting rid of garbage, draining stagnant water, spraying insecticides, and suing screens. It is clear that yellow fever, Zika, and Ebola have severely affected many countries, and therefore, countries should work together to eradicate the calamity.

To begin with, the article “Running low on yellow fever vaccine, WHO ready to propose smaller doses” by Helen Branswell,  states its core position in demonstrating the bright pattern of how the community should react to the rising danger by the joint efforts. The carefully developed strategy along with the immediate reaction will be able to prevent the inevitable effects of yellow fever.

According to the StatNews’ depicting the issue, the selected article belongs to the wider version of revealing the WHO’s initiative comparing to the previous one. The specialists are worried whether the limited dose will be enough for the little babies. The range of studies confirms that even reducing of the vaccine will be able to protect the adults. However, the same cannot be said about the children. That is the reason for doubting in the applied actions as the errors in this particular case are unacceptable. Those who have already been vaccinated with the high dose will be vaccinated repeatedly with the smaller one. Only the emergency cases will be considered to be the exceptions for using the high standard doses. The perspective for the future solving the question was also taken into account at the expense of the present difficulties. It means that the struggle against the epidemic seems to progress.

The informational tone of Branswell reveals the facts mentioned in the New York Times concerning the statistics of the severe forms of the fever. The firm arguments are enforced by the opinions of experts at the global health agency, Sealy Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Texas, and WHO. However, the neutral material delivery manages to have not the vaguest idea about the correspondent’s personal attitude. On the other hand, in such a way the journalist expresses the high level of ethical competence.

The logical chain of the article starts with the discussion of the organization’s plan to establish a dose of vaccine. The author smoothly proceeds to an explanation of the application of such methods by analyzing the prevailing circumstances when yellow fever got out of control. Helen claims that “Angola has seeded cases in Kenya, China, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo” (Branswell par.3). Mentioning of the endangered areas is followed by the statistics in Kinshasa and Brazzaville. Thus, the readership acquires the opportunity to get the broad picture of what is happening. I consider the introduction of the case and the description of the general features of the disease to be auxiliary enough in approaching the root of the problem. Consequently, the audience will be able to understand how important it is to reduce the dose.

The writer is likely to completely justify the WHO’s measures but those are only my superficial assumptions, especially since the next data evidence that the initiative might be punished. Branswell continues with arguing that the children will be deprived of the protection due to the small vaccine doses. She warns the publicity of implementing the plan by Barrett’s words: “We’ve got to be careful.” (Branswell par.16). Indeed, reducing doses mighty come at a cost but since adults have already been tested, it is safe to say that children will also be in the clear. Not giving them any dose because there is a shortage is a much worse scenario. It’s a case of –half loaf is better than none. The reduced dose will buy time for WHO to create the full dose while preventing casualties of Yellow Fever.

The offered perspectives at the end of the contribution concerning the vaccine supply do not succeed to counter my concerns. People will keep on suffering without vaccine so lowering the dose is in everyone’s best interest as we give WHO and it’s partners to work on refining a better vaccine. Giving smaller dosesallows WHO to find the other alternatives of addressing the vaccine shortage issue to avoid shortages in the future.



Works Cited

“A Yellow Fever Epidemic Made Worse by a Vaccine Shortage.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Aug. 2016, Accessed 30 Mar. 2017.

Branswell, Helen. “Yellow fever vaccine prompts WHO to consider lower doses.”STAT, STAT, 9 Aug. 2016, Accessed 30 Mar. 2017.