The first mass vaccination campaign reached 80 percent of the population in Burkina Faso. Photo: PATH/Carib Nelson.
Powerful vaccine stops meningitis epidemics before they start
Families and governments alike eagerly anticipated the introduction of MenAfriVac®, a revolutionary vaccine that packs a power punch in the fight against epidemic meningitis. The vaccine was launched in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger in country-wide vaccination campaigns in December 2010.
The launch of the vaccine in Burkina Faso underscored the widespread demand for protection from the deadly disease. In just 10 days, nearly everyone aged 1 to 29 was vaccinated—that’s 10.8 million people protected in one fell sweep. Dr. Marc LaForce, director of the Meningitis Vaccine Project at the time, predicted that “things are going to change dramatically.”
He was right. Wherever MenAfriVac has been introduced, the number of cases of meningitis A has dropped dramatically.
Tailor-made to save African lives
MenAfriVac provides long-term protection (up to ten years) to those who have been immunized and also blocks colonization of the disease, providing “herd immunity” to those who are not immunized.
The vaccine is also tailor-made to withstand the hot climates of many settings in the meningitis belt. It is temperature stable, so it can be delivered outside of the vaccine “cold chain”—easing delivery and enabling even the remotest of communities to be vaccinated.
Julien Bonboungou looked forward to the day when his village was protected from meningitis. Read his story. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.
Between 2010 and 2015, more than 235 million people were immunized across the meningitis belt. By 2020, the vaccine is expected to protect more than 400 million people—preventing 1 million cases of meningitis A; 150,000 deaths; and 250,000 cases of severe disability.
The vaccine has succeeded at bringing unprecedented change to the countries of Africa’s meningitis belt and to households so long conditioned to close their doors in fear when the winds began to blow.
MenAfriVac is a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Private Ltd.