Gavi has collaborated with the Meningitis Vaccine Project to deliver an affordable vaccine against meningitis A in less than 10 years
Gavi support is available for preventive campaigns and routine immunisation
MENINGITIS VACCINE PROJECT
In an effort to eliminate deadly outbreaks, the Meningitis Vaccine Project, a partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO) and PATH, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, developed an affordable meningitis A vaccine.
History of MenAfriVac
In 2001, WHO and PATH, a non-profit body based in Seattle, USA, founded the Meningitis Vaccine Project with core funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Its mission: to develop a vaccine at a price low enough – US$ 0.40 per dose – to enable widespread use in Africa. This would help ensure that epidemics such as the 1996–97 outbreak, which caused 250,000 cases and 25,000 deaths, would never happen again.
Commercial manufacturers in industrialised countries could not produce the vaccine at such a low target price. Therefore, the consortium carried out the research itself and contracted the Serum Institute of India in Pune to make the vaccine. The entire research and development cost of the project was 5 to 10 times less than for other typical vaccines.
In 2008, The Gavi Board approved support to immunise the entire target population in all 26 meningitis belt countries with MenAfriVac by 2016. With a high coverage rate among people aged below 30 years, representing approximately 315 million people, it is expected that epidemics will be eliminated from this region of Africa.
To ensure continued protection for future generations and following WHO prequalification of MenAfriVac in 2014, Gavi now also supports countries to introduce the vaccine into their routine immunisation schedules.
GAVI FUNDING SUPPORT
In the 26 countries where meningitis A is endemic, Gavi currently supports:
Gavi countries receive support for preventive campaigns on a one-dose vaccination schedule, as well as associated supplies. Countries receiving support for preventive campaigns do not receive a vaccine introduction grant. However, Gavi provides US$ 0.65 per individual in the target population of the campaign to help cover operational costs (expected to cover approximately 80% of the total estimated cost). Gavi’s aim is to facilitate timely and effective delivery of vaccines to the target population.
Introduction into the routine immunisation system
To prevent future outbreaks, meningitis A vaccine should be introduced into countries’ routine infant vaccination schedule within 1 to 5 years after their preventative vaccination campaign.1
Gavi provides support for a one-dose meningitis A vaccination schedule, as well as associated injection supplies. Countries will receive a one-time cash vaccine introduction grant for the additional introduction costs. It is expected that the government and partners cover the remaining costs associated with the vaccine introduction.
Mini catch-up campaigns
Gavi also supports simultaneous one-time “mini catch-up” campaigns. These target babies born between the preventive campaign and the introduction of the vaccine into the routine vaccination schedule.
Meningitis emergency stockpiles
Gavi contributes to a meningitis emergency stockpile to control outbreaks. The stockpile can include meningitis A as well as other serotypes, depending on the cause of the outbreak (Men AC; Men ACW/ACYW). This support covers emergency outbreaks in the 26 countries in the African meningitis belt.
The meningitis emergency stockpiles is coordinated through the international coordination group hosted by WHO.
Controlled temperature chain (CTC)
From 2014, additional Gavi support is available for countries wishing to use a controlled temperature chain strategy when implementing their meningitis A vaccine campaign. These funds are channelled through WHO.