The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved administration
of meningitis vaccine, which does not have to be stored in fridges or iceboxes,
to babies across Africa. The MenAfriVac has received thumbs up for use in mass
immunization programs under the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP).
WHO's approval means the vaccine meets international safety and quality standards and can be safely used in children under a year old. It also paves way for UN agencies to purchase the vaccine for use in routine immunization programs.
The vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India was launched in 2010 and has been administered to more than 215 million people in the 15 countries of the African meningitis belt including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Togo.