World health organization

A new meningitis vaccine for Africa

Children and adults wait in line to be vaccinated.
M. Berlier

Existing vaccines cannot prevent epidemics

Vaccines against different forms of meningococcal disease have been available for over 30 years. Since they only protect those vaccinated for a maximum of 2-3 years and do not protect young children, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease, they are unable to prevent epidemics. As a result, mass vaccination campaigns have to be repeated year after year. Although the ability to develop a safe and effective vaccine, through what's called "conjugation" technology, for Africa had existed for 10 years, by 1999 all programmes to develop vaccines for A or A/C had ceased.

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