September opened with exhilarating news: A study published in the medical journal The Lancet found the MenAfriVac® vaccine lowered the rate of new cases of meningitis by 94 percent following a 2011 immunization campaign in Chad, West Africa. The study drew global attention to the Meningitis Vaccine Project, a collaboration led by PATH and the World Health Organization (WHO) that developed the MenAfriVac® vaccine.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the mass immunization campaigns, researchers compared the number of new cases of meningitis of any kind in regions with and without vaccination during the 2012 season. They found that the rate was 43.6 per 100,000 people in regions where vaccination did not take place, compared to only 2.5 per 100,000 among those who were vaccinated—a stunning difference. None of the observed cases were caused by group A meningitis. In addition, they found no cases of meningitis among people who lived in vaccination areas but were too young or old to participate. This suggests that the vaccine provides “herd immunity,” helping to protect unvaccinated people by reducing the presence of the disease in their communities.
Additional vaccine rollouts in sub-Saharan Africa are continuing this momentum. In September, a campaign in Sudan reached more than 6.3 million people. And recent introductions in Ethiopia and Nigeria, together with a late-November campaign in The Gambia, will bring MenAfriVac® to millions more. By the end of this year, the total number of young Africans vaccinated since 2010 is expected to reach an astounding 150 million.
Your support is contributing to these and other efforts, bringing tangible hope to families throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Thank you!
The Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP) is a partnership between PATH and the World Health Organization. Started in 2001 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the mission of the MVP is to eliminate meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa through the development, testing, introduction, and widespread use of conjugate meningococcal vaccines. MenAfriVac® is a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Ltd.