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Nigeria First To Introduce New Vaccine Against Meningitis – WHO

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Nigeria has become the first country in the world to roll out a new vaccine – Men5CV – recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), to protect people against meningitis.

The world health body, in a statement on Friday, said that the vaccine would protect people against five strains of meningococcus bacteria, and described Nigeria’s feat as historic.

It said that health workers would begin an immunisation campaign aimed at reaching one million people.

The statement said that the vaccine and emergency vaccination activities are funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which funds the global meningitis vaccine stockpile and supports lower-income countries with routine vaccination against meningitis.

It said that health workers would begin an immunisation campaign aimed at reaching one million people.

According to the WHO, Nigeria is one of the 26 meningitis hyper-endemic countries of Africa, situated in the area known as the African Meningitis Belt.

It noted that in 2023, there was a 50 per cent jump in annual meningitis cases reported across Africa.

The new vaccine uses the same technology as the meningitis A conjugate vaccine (MenAfriVac®), which wiped out meningococcal A epidemics in Nigeria,” the WHO boss said.

The statement quoted Prof. Muhammad Pate, Nigeria’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, as saying that Northern Nigeria, particularly the states of Jigawa, Bauchi and Yobe, were badly hit by the deadly outbreak of meningitis.

“This vaccine provides health workers with a new tool to both stop this outbreak and also put the country on a path to elimination,” Pate said.

According to him, Nigeria has done a lot of work preparing health workers and the health system for the rollout of the new vaccine.

NAN

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