There is an outbreak of meningitis in West African country of Niger and according to reports, it is spreading rapidly killing hundreds of people. The worst part of it all is, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), that vaccines are short in supply.
The shortage of vaccines is according to the WHO, due to production problems with one manufacturer.
To fill the gap in the stockpile supply, WHO asked two public sector manufacturers, the Instituto Finlay in Cuba and Bio-Manguinhos in Brazil, to supply 600,000 doses of polysaccharide vaccine. They generously agreed to do so.
This vaccine shortage highlights the importance of accelerating the development of a multivalent conjugate vaccine affordable for the people and governments of Africa.
WHO says there have been 5,855 suspected cases of meningococcal meningitis, including 406 deaths. The WHO says
This is a rapidly growing outbreak with some unprecedented features.
Hopefully, Nigerians who have been in Niger as refugees will be well vaccinated against meningitis before they start mixing with the general population to avoid a spread of the killer disease.