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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Niger begins COVID-19 vaccinations following multiple deaths

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The UN World Health Organsation (WHO) has started a mass vaccination campaign in Niger’s Niamey region in response to an ongoing meningitis outbreak.The UN health agency, in a statement, said the vaccination campaign against meningitis outbreak began on Thursday.

“More than 2,000 cases were recorded in one week last month and 123 people have died,” the WHO said.

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Niger is one of 26 African countries where the disease is endemic and persistently poses a high risk in the so-called African meningitis belt.

The recent surge in cases represents a 50 per cent increase from last year, with a mortality rate exceeding six per cent.

The focus of the epicentre is Niamey region, with an infection rate of more than 52 cases per 100,000 people.

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Other regions such as Agadez, Zinder and Dosso also require urgent intervention to confront high infection rates, the UN health agency said.

READ ALSO: Over 500 recover from meningitis outbreak in Yobe

To help protect at-risk communities, the WHO is joining forces with several technical and financial partners to respond to the epidemic with a new vaccine.

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Unlike previous jabs, the new meningitis vaccine is single-dose and it protects against five strains of the infection.

(NAN)

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