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Man holding his young son, surrounded by other families.

These families are among the 250 million people who will be vaccinated against meningitis A over the next few years. Photo: WHO/Burkina Faso.

MenAfriVac offers important protection for future generations

In the next few years, PATH and the World Health Organization (WHO) plan to bring the MenAfriVac® vaccine to more than 300 million children and adults, ages 1 through 29, in 25 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The conjugate vaccine will quickly reduce the transmission of meningococcal bacteria and create a drastic drop in illness and death rates from meningitis A. Widespread coverage of the vaccine will create “herd immunity” that will protect even those who have not been vaccinated against the disease. Immunity with just one dose of the vaccine is expected to last at least ten years.

Meanwhile, PATH and WHO are continuing to build evidence for MenAfriVac’s safe use among infants. The MVP team expects to receive WHO prequalification—which brings international regulatory approval—of the meningitis A conjugate vaccine for infants in 2013, clearing the way for the vaccine’s use among the youngest people susceptible to the disease.

Investing in saving lives

Julien Bonboungou

Julien Bonboungou looks forward to the day when his village is protected from meningitis. Read his story. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

MenAfriVac was developed at a major cost savings—less than one-tenth the cost of the US$500 million typically needed to bring a new vaccine to market. In addition, the reduction in meningitis cases is expected to free up significant funds that countries can use to address other public health problems. However, sizable funding is still needed to ensure that the vaccine is introduced across the entire region over the next few years.

PATH and WHO are continuing to built support for sustained immunization to ensure that all communities in the region receive a historic, lifesaving dose of the new conjugate meningitis A vaccine.

MenAfriVac is a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Ltd.