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MenFive vaccine to revolutionise meningitis prevention in Africa – GAVI

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

Gavi The Vaccine Alliance said the MenFive vaccine is poised to revolutionise meningitis prevention efforts in Africa.

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

The MenFive® is approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for use in individuals between the ages of one to 85 years, and will initially be available for use in reactive vaccine campaigns for meningitis outbreaks.

Quintanilla said that unlike its predecessors, MenFive boasts of 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.

According to her, this innovation promised greater flexibility in vaccine delivery, particularly in remote areas where maintaining a cold chain is challenging.

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

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

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

Quintanilla noted that the vaccine’s multidose vial configuration facilitates easier storage and transportation, ensuring a more efficient supply of doses.

“Gavi, along with its partners such as World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (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 added.

Quintanilla said for 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.

She said the introduction of MenFive represents a significant step towards achieving the global goal of Defeating Meningitis by 2030, offering hope for a future where meningitis outbreaks are effectively controlled and prevented.

Nigeria has received one million doses of the 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 was delivered by the United Nations Children’s Fund.

According to Gavi, the vaccine was developed through a13-year collaboration between PATH and Serum Institute of India, with support from the UK government’s foreign, commonwealth and development office.

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