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WHO confirms Nigeria takes lead in new meningitis vaccine rollout



Nigeria has become the first country in the world to roll out a new meningitis vaccine (Men5CV).

The vaccine recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides broader protection than the current vaccine – meningitis A conjugate vaccine (MenAfriVac®) -used across Africa.

MenAfriVac®) had previously wiped out meningococcal A epidemics in Nigeria.

In a statement on Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the new vaccine offers a powerful shield against the five major strains of the meningococcal bacteria (A, C, W, Y, and X) in a single shot.

According to the United Nations health agency, all five strains cause meningitis and blood poisoning.

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who spoke on the matter, said the development of the new vaccine is especially important for countries like Nigeria where multiple serogroups are prevalent.

He added that the new vaccine has the potential to significantly reduce meningitis cases and advance progress in defeating meningitis.

Ghebreyesus said: “Meningitis is an old and deadly foe, but this new vaccine holds the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, preventing future outbreaks and saving many lives.

“Nigeria’s rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030.”

On his part, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, expressed happiness at the feat.

READ ALSO: Meningitis: Nigeria confirms 118 deaths, 235 cases in 22 states

“Northern Nigeria, particularly the states of Jigawa, Bauchi, and Yobe were badly hit by the deadly outbreak of meningitis, and this vaccine provides health workers with a new tool to both stop this outbreak but also put the country on a path to elimination.

“We’ve done a lot of work preparing health workers and the health system for the rollout of this new vaccine. We got invaluable support from our populations despite this fasting period and from our community leaders especially the Emir of Gumel in Jigawa State who personally launched the vaccination campaign in the state.

“We’ll be monitoring progress closely and hopefully expanding the immunization in the coming months and years to accelerate progress,” he stated.

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