Portraits from the vaccine launch in Burkina Faso show the hope for an end to epidemic meningitis. View the slideshow. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.
With a vaccine in hand, Africa begins to eliminate epidemic meningitis
In 2010, the MenAfriVac® vaccine cleared its final regulatory hurdles. First, the Maharashtra State Food and Drug Administration in India granted Serum Institute marketing authorization to export and use the vaccine in Africa. Then, after a detailed evaluation, WHO announced prequalification of the vaccine, certifying that it met international standards of quality, safety, and efficacy.
On December 6, 2010, countrywide vaccination campaigns with MenAfriVac began. By the end of the year, the campaigns had reached 20 million people in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, three of the most affected countries of the meningitis belt. The next year, the vaccine was launched in three more countries. By the end of 2016, it had reached 19 countries in the meningitis belt. The campaigns were a stunning display of mass mobilization and the region’s commitment to eliminating the disease.
Less than 15 years after the creation of MVP, a vaccine is on the cusp of fulfilling a promise: to end deadly and debilitating meningitis A epidemics.
MenAfriVac is a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Private Ltd.