Nigeria Introduces Groundbreaking Meningitis Vaccine in World First

Nigeria becomes first country to roll out new meningitis vaccine, a crucial step towards eliminating the deadly disease by 2030 across Africa.

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Mazhar Abbas
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Nigeria Introduces Groundbreaking Meningitis Vaccine in World First

Nigeria Introduces Groundbreaking Meningitis Vaccine in World First

Nigeria has become the first country in the world to roll out a new vaccine called Men5CV, which protects against five strains of the deadly meningococcus bacteria. The vaccine, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), is part of a comprehensive roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030.

Meningitis poses a persistent threat to public health in sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria being one of the hotspots for the disease on the continent. Last year, a 50% rise in annual meningitis cases was reported across 26 African countries. Between October 2022 and March 2023, Nigeria recorded 1,742 suspected cases and 153 deaths in seven states.

The Men5CV vaccine was developed by PATH and the Serum Institute of India through a 13-year partnership, with financial support from the UK government. It uses the same technology as the MenAfriVac vaccine, which effectively eradicated meningococcal A epidemics in Nigeria. The new vaccine protects against five strains of meningococcal bacteria, which are responsible for more than half of the global deaths caused by meningitis.

Why this matters:The introduction of the Men5CV vaccine in Nigeria is a vital step towards the global goal of eliminating meningitis by 2030. With broader protection and proactive vaccination efforts, there is hope to consign meningitis outbreaks to history, ensuring healthier and more resilient communities across Africa and beyond.

The recent vaccination drive in Nigeria, supported by the Gavi vaccine alliance, targeted over one million individuals aged 1 to 29 years, following a deadly epidemic that claimed 153 lives. The WHO and Nigerian officials believe the new vaccine can help put the country on a path to eliminating meningitis by 2030.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, stated, "Nigeria's rollout of the vaccine advances us further towards the goal of eliminating meningitis by 2030." The WHO and the Nigerian government are closely monitoring the progress of the vaccine rollout, with the aim of expanding the immunization program in the coming months and years.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigeria becomes 1st country to roll out new Men5CV vaccine for 5 meningitis strains
  • Meningitis poses persistent threat in sub-Saharan Africa, with 50% rise in cases in 2022
  • Men5CV developed by PATH and Serum Institute, protects against 50%+ of global meningitis deaths
  • Vaccination drive in Nigeria targets 1M people aged 1-29, aims to eliminate meningitis by 2030
  • WHO and Nigeria monitoring vaccine rollout, plan to expand immunization program in coming years