Nigeria becomes first to receive new vaccine to curb meningitis outbreaks


Nigeria is set to receive a groundbreaking new MenFive vaccine, making it the first country to use this vaccine aimed at combating meningitis outbreaks. The vaccine shows promise in addressing the current meningococcus C outbreak in the country, according to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI).

Meningitis is a potentially fatal illness transmitted through respiratory and throat secretions, affecting the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord. It poses a significant threat in regions like Africa.


Developed through a 13-year collaboration between PATH and the Serum Institute of India, with support from the UK Government, the MenFive vaccine targets five main strains of meningococcal meningitis, including the elusive serogroup X. This makes it a crucial tool in offering protection against various meningitis strains prevalent in Africa.

Dr. Tokunbo Oshin, Gavi's Director of High Impact Countries, emphasized the importance of innovations like MenFive in combating infectious disease outbreaks globally. He noted that Gavi's support for a multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MMCV) program would integrate the MenFive vaccine into routine immunization and outbreak response strategies.

The MenFive vaccine will initially be deployed to respond to an ongoing meningococcus C outbreak, targeting around a million children in six local government areas (LGAs) in Jigawa state. These LGAs are Babura, Birniwa, Gagarawa, Gumel, Maigatari, and Sule Tankarkar.


As of March 3, 82 LGAs across 22 states in Nigeria have reported 1,402 suspected cases of meningitis, with 101 confirmed cases and 123 fatalities, resulting in a case fatality rate of 9.4% since October 2023. The most affected age groups are 5-14 years and 15-29 years, with Yobe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Gombe, and Katsina states collectively accounting for 94% of the cases in the country.

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