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April 20, 2024
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MenFive vaccine revolutionises meningitis prevention in Africa, says GAVI

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By Abujah Racheal

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) says  MenFive® is poised to revolutionise meningitis prevention efforts in Africa.

Ms Cassandra Quintanilla, Senior Programme Manager, Vaccine Implementation at Gavi (Meningitis programme lead), said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), on Monday in Abuja.

NAN reports that MenFive® is approved by WHO for use in individuals one through 85 years of age and will initially be available for use in reactive vaccine campaigns for meningitis outbreaks.

Quintanilla said that unlike its predecessors, MenFive® boasts the remarkable advantage of remaining stable outside of the cold chain for up to 12 weeks, making it a game-changer for regions with limited refrigeration resources.

She said that this innovation promised greater flexibility in vaccine delivery, particularly in remote areas where maintaining a cold chain is challenging.

“The MenFive vaccine, prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) after extensive clinical trials, targets the five main serogroups of meningococcal meningitis prevalent in Africa, including serogroup X, previously unprotected by available vaccines.

“Its efficacy and safety have been demonstrated through comprehensive studies conducted across different countries, including Mali, India, the US, and the Gambia,” she said.

She said that one of MenFive’s key features was  its suitability for use in a controlled temperature chain (CTC), which had been well-received by healthcare workers for its ability to streamline vaccine distribution and reduce logistical burdens.

Additionally, she said it was multidose vial configuration facilitates easier storage and transportation, ensuring a more efficient supply of doses.

“Gavi, along with its partners such as WHO, UNICEF, and local health authorities, prioritizes the allocation of MenFive based on epidemiological data and risk assessments, ensuring equitable distribution to high-risk populations.

“The introduction of MenFive aligns with broader efforts to transition from reactive vaccination to preventive immunisation strategies, paving the way for sustained protection against meningitis outbreaks,” she said.

According to her, as part of a comprehensive approach to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, Gavi collaborates with various stakeholders to promote public awareness and build trust in vaccines, crucial for maximizing MenFive’s impact.

Ultimately, she said that the introduction of MenFive® represents a significant step toward achieving the global goal of defeating Meningitis by 2030, offering hope for a future where meningitis outbreaks were effectively controlled and prevented.

NAN reports that Nigeria has received one million doses of MenFive vaccine, a meningitis vaccine, from the Gavi-funded global stockpile.

Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord-surrounding membranes known as the meninges.

Gavi said Nigeria is the first country to receive the new vaccine, adding that the shipment delivered by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Gavi said the vaccine was developed through a 13-year collaboration between PATH and Serum Institute of India, with support from the UK government’s foreign, commonwealth and development office. (NAN) www.nannews.ng

 

Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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