Live attenuated virus vaccines

Live attenuated viruses are used to produce vaccines that mimic natural exposure while avoiding disease. These vaccines generally require only one or two immunisations, since the immune responses they create are very durable. Many licensed vaccines in use today, including measles, polio and yellow fever vaccines, are based on this concept.

Lyophilized vaccine

A vaccine formulation that has been freeze-dried during manufacture before the vial is sealed. Lyophilised vaccines need reconstituting with liquid before use.  

Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT)

Tetanus (also known as lockjaw) is caused by infection with a bacterium, Clostridium tetani. Tetanus affects newborn babies and their mothers, usually as a result of unsafe delivery in unhygienic conditions, often without skilled birth attendants. Gavi has supported the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) worldwide through a one-off grant to the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus elimination initiative.  

Maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH)

An approach in public health that is often applied in relation to MDGs 4 and 5, for example, MNCH policies, interventions, services and partners. The continuum of care concept figures prominently in the planning of MNCH activities. See also continuum of care

Measles Initiative, The

The Measles Initiative is a partnership, led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and WHO, committed to reducing measles deaths worldwide. Gavi has supported the Measles Initiative through IFFIm funds.

Meningitis Vaccine Project, The (MVP)

The Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a partnership created in 2001 by WHO and PATH, aims to eliminate epidemic meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives of the Project are to develop meningococcal conjugate vaccines for wide use in Africa, to monitor the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, and to assure its production at low cost. A meningococcal A conjugate vaccine for adults and children over the age of one has been developed, and was prequalified by WHO in June 2010.

Meningococcal A/C conjugate vaccine

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, due to viral or bacterial infection. The bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (a meningococcus) is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in all countries, particularly in the African “meningitis belt,” where the disease occurs in large-scale epidemics affecting the entire population every few years. There are many different serotypes of meningococcus. Development of a meningococcal A or A/C conjugate vaccine that can be given to infants is one of three vaccine priorities identified by the Gavi Board in 2008.  

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Adopted in 2000 by representatives of 189 countries, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are time-limited commitments made by governments throughout the world to reduce poverty and promote human development. There are eight interrelated goals, each with a number of key measurable targets to be met by 2015. Gavi contributes primarily to meeting MDG 4, which aims to reduce child mortality by two thirds by 2015, and MDGs 5 and 6 – mainly through its support to health system strengthening. However, immunisation also provides health benefits that accrue to all the MDGs.


A monodose is a single dose of vaccine in a vial or prefilled syringe presentation.  

Monovalent vaccine

A monovalent vaccine is formulated against a single infectious agent or a single serotype of a related group of similar infectious agents.  

Multivalent vaccine

A multivalent vaccine can refer either to a vaccine formulated against several serotypes of a given infectious agent or a combination of vaccines against a selection of very different pathogens. See also Combination vaccine. 

National health plan

A national health plan (or equivalent) brings together different programmes related to health together under one plan. It usually lasts five years and includes, for example, schedules for national immunisation and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes. It is drafted, coordinated and monitored by a health sector coordination committee. Gavi requires countries to submit a national health sector plan when applying for health system strengthening support. See also health sector coordination committee.

National Immunisation Days (NIDs)

National immunisation days are a supplement to ongoing routine immunisation. Their goal is to produce a rapid boost to immunity to the specific antigen(s) provided during the campaign in a target population. National immunisation days require detailed planning and communications both to mobilise and reach mass populations. Immunisation booths are typically used to administer vaccines with house-to-house outreach and other mobile teams used to cover populations that did not attend the booth or are difficult to reach for other reasons (in transit, living in remote areas, etc).  

New and underused vaccines (NVS)

Gavi support for new and underused vaccines (NVS) supports the accelerated introduction of life-saving vaccines in a country's routine immunisation programme. From 2011, countries with DTP3 coverage above 70% will qualify to apply for the following vaccines, provided they are not already part of the routine immunisation schedule: 

New vaccines

Please see entry for "New and underused vaccines." 


An outbreak refers to the spread of a disease occurring in a short period of time and in a limited geographical location (ie neighbourhood, community, school or hospital).

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