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        Snap Analysis

Shipment to Nigeria marks first-ever use of new meningitis vaccine

Geneva, 6 February 2024Nigeria has become the first country to receive the new MenFive vaccine from the Gavi-funded global stockpile, with a shipment delivered by UNICEF arriving last evening. Doses will be used to respond to an on-going meningococcus C outbreak, targeting to vaccinate around a million children in six local government areas in Jigawa state: Babura, Birniwa, Gagarawa, Gumel, Maigatari, and Sule Tankarkar. 

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance funds the global stockpiles of vaccines against cholera, Ebola, meningitis and yellow fever, and supports outbreak response campaigns in lower-income countries. Country requests to these stockpiles are managed by the World Health Organization’s International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision. The ICG has approved the deployment of 1,043,377 doses of MenFive in response to Nigeria’s request.  

The MenFive vaccine, 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, received WHO prequalification in July 2023. The vaccine protects against the five main serogroups of meningococcal meningitis impacting Africa – meningococcal serogroups A, C, W, Y, and X. It is the only vaccine that protects against serogroup X. 

Dr Tokunbo Oshin, Director of High Impact Countries at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance comments on this milestone:  

“With outbreaks of infectious diseases on the rise worldwide, new innovations such as MenFive are critical in helping us fight back. Thanks to vaccines, we have eliminated large and disruptive outbreaks of meningitis A in Africa: now we have a tool to respond to other meningococcal meningitis serogroups that still cause large outbreaks resulting in long-term disability and deaths. 

Gavi will be working closely with the Nigerian government as well as our partners such as UNICEF and WHO to support the response to this outbreak.” 

This first shipment signals the start of Gavi support for a multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MMCV) program, which will see the MenFive vaccine rolled out through outbreak response, routine immunization, and catch-up campaigns in high-risk countries. Over the years, Gavi has worked with countries to support vaccination against meningitis A, reaching nearly 400 million children through campaigns and routine immunisation. These efforts have helped Africa defeat meningitis A, with no new cases detected since 2017. The addition of MenFive into health systems’ toolkit holds out the possibility that the other circulating serogroups could also one day be defeated. 

As of end 2023, the global meningococcal vaccines stockpile had been accessed 62 times by 16 countries since 2009, with more than 29million doses deployed from the stockpile in support to countries. 

Please feel free to quote. For questions and follow-ups, email media@gavi.org  



Meningitis, according to the World Health Organization , is transmitted from person to person through droplets of respiratory and throat secretions, is an infection of the meninges, the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The disease is known to cause hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, limb loss or other disabilities and death, and can also be triggered by viruses, fungi or parasites. 

The African meningitis belt stretches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east (26 countries) including the northern part of Nigeria. Meningitis in these countries follows a seasonal pattern, being most common during the dry season (December through June) with a peak between March and April when there is persistent low air humidity and high dust loads that are believed to damage the pharyngeal mucosa and ease the colonization of the nasopharyngeal epithelium by the meningococci. Seasonal epidemics vary in size from year to year. 

Related resources 

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance 

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate more than half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organisations that fund Gavi’s work here

Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram


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