8 November 2012

Nigeria: 17 Million for Meningitis Vaccination December

An estimated 17 million people in four states are targeted for vaccination in the second phase of a campaign to eliminate cerebrospinal meningitis this December, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

The vaccination will cover vulnerable populations aged one to 29 years in Yobe, Kano, Sokoto and Borno-all marked as high risk for CSM-using the free enhanced meningitis vaccine for Africa (MenAfriVac) to build herd immunity.

The agency says the campaign will require 17 million doses of the vaccine, provided by the pharmaceutical firm Serum Institute of India, to cover the estimated population of the four states.

The vaccination is to "eliminate serotype A [of meningitis] which has tendency to cause epidemics," explained Bello Aladie, focal person for CSM at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

At least 90% of all CSM epidemics are caused by serotype A, but the agency's survey showed incidence of the serotype fell to 1 in 13 after the first phase of vaccination last December in Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara.

The campaign had difficulty reaching people aged 15 to 29 years, a group which included adolescents and many adults, according to officials.

They added that many men in that age group refused to be injected, even though they brought their wives and children for vaccinated.

"Some were afraid of injections basically, but because they are grownups, they will say, I don't want [to be injected]," said Aladie.

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