The Meningitis Vaccine Project - frequently asked questions
What is the timeline for campaigns across the meningitis belt?
Country-wide vaccination in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger is scheduled to start in December. The campaign in Burkina Faso is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The campaigns in Mali and Niger are expected to finish in 2011. It is hoped that all countries in the meningitis belt will be using the vaccine by 2015.
Why start with mass vaccination campaigns?
The goal of introducing the meningococcal A conjugate vaccine through mass vaccination campaigns of 1 to 29 year olds (the age group most at risk) is to immediately and drastically reduce carriage and transmission of the bacteria in order to rapidly reduce rates of death and illness caused by the disease. Because large population groups will be vaccinated in a short period of time, the benefits of immunization should be quickly visible; their impact is expected to be considerable.
It is expected that future birth cohorts will be protected either through vaccination within the EPI schedule or through follow-up mass campaigns targeting 1-4 year-olds every five years.
Is there commitment in Africa for the introduction of this vaccine?
Because of the prevalence of meningitis A in the population and the role it plays as a major cause of epidemics, controlling meningitis A has become an important public health priority in Africa. Countries in the meningitis belt have been eager to host the clinical trials of the vaccine and have contributed significantly to their success. The same enthusiasm now fuels introduction of the vaccine throughout the region. The first three countries to introduce MenAfriVac are contributing financially as much as national budgets allow.