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A big thank you to Kim Kertson, PATH, for this note! Less than ten years after the creation of the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP) the new meningococcal A conjugate vaccine is ready to be introduced in Africa. MenAfriVacTM was licensed by the Indian regulatory authorities in December 2009, prequalified by the World Health Organization in June 2010, and registered in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso in summer 2010. The licensing and prequalification process is a guarantee that the vaccine meets stringent international standards of quality, safety, and efficacy. Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have been selected for the first introduction of MenAfriVacTM on the basis of several criteria including disease burden, the ability to organize mass campaigns, and participation in clinical trials to develop the vaccine. In each of these first introduction countries, MenAfriVacTM will be introduced in two stages: pilot vaccination campaigns of 1- to 29-year-olds at the district level (September 2010) and country-wide vaccination campaigns of all 1- to 29-year-olds (December 2010). MenAfriVac is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Ltd. From MENINGVAX.ORG *In just a matter of days*** *October 14, 2010—*As September came to a close in the meningitis belt and brought the region even closer to the pending dry season, more than 1 million people received a shot against group A meningococcal meningitis. Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali have now completed their district-level introduction of MenAfriVac™ in a pilot campaign to check for any hiccups in the system. These countries are preparing for December’s mass vaccination campaign. In just 17 days, 1,038,457 people were vaccinated against an illness that has plagued the region for a century. In barely two months, millions more will get the same vaccine—protection from meningitis and the huge peace of mind that comes with that protection. From PATH.ORG
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