Nigeria Receives 1 Million Doses of New Meningitis Vaccine for Outbreak Control

By Milcah Tanimu

Nigeria has obtained one million doses of the MenFive vaccine, specifically designed to combat meningitis outbreaks, from the Gavi-funded global stockpile.

Meningitis, an infection affecting the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, poses significant health risks.

According to a statement released on Thursday, Gavi announced Nigeria as the inaugural recipient of the new vaccine. The shipment, facilitated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), arrived in the country on Tuesday.

The MenFive vaccine, a result of a 13-year collaboration between PATH and the Serum Institute of India, supported by the UK government’s foreign, commonwealth, and development office, received WHO prequalification in July 2023. This vaccine safeguards against the five main serogroups of meningococcal meningitis prevalent in Africa, including serogroup X, marking it as the sole vaccine offering protection against this serogroup.

Meningococcal meningitis, caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, is associated with severe morbidity and mortality rates.

The allocated doses will address the ongoing meningococcus C outbreak, with plans to inoculate approximately one million children across six local government areas in Jigawa state: Babura, Birniwa, Gagarawa, Gumel, Maigatari, and Sule Tankarkar.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, oversees the global stockpiles of vaccines targeting diseases such as cholera, Ebola, meningitis, and yellow fever. It also facilitates outbreak response campaigns in low-income countries. Requests for vaccines from these stockpiles are managed by the World Health Organization’s International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, which has endorsed the deployment of 1,043,377 doses of MenFive in response to Nigeria’s appeal.

Tokunbo Oshin, Gavi’s Director of High Impact Countries, emphasized the close collaboration between Gavi, the Nigerian government, and partners like UNICEF and WHO to tackle the outbreak. Oshin highlighted the crucial role of innovative vaccines like MenFive in combating the increasing incidence of infectious diseases globally, citing its potential to address various serogroups of meningococcal meningitis and prevent associated long-term disabilities and fatalities.


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