The World Health Organization (WHO) has granted prequalification for Typhim Vi®, a typhoid Vi polysaccharide vaccine, produced by Sanofi Pasteur.
This is a major advancement towards universal access for typhoid vaccines because prequalification by the WHO, will permit UNICEF, other UN agencies and the Pan American Health Organization Revolving Fund to purchase the vaccine. WHO prequalification is also a prerequisite for GAVI Alliance support.
With some 200,000 deaths occurring worldwide from typhoid fever each year, and a further 16-33 million people falling ill, use of typhoid vaccines can help contribute to achieving UN Millennium Development Goals.
“The use of WHO prequalified typhoid vaccines in appropriate populations of high burden countries is a priority for South Asia, where much of the disease burden is in children under five,” said Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Head of the Maternal and Child Health Division at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.
The burden of typhoid fever is highest among children living in poverty. In populations where the basic rights of access to safe water and basic sanitation have yet to be addressed, the use of typhoid vaccines can help reduce this gap in equity and social justice.
Dr. Shyam Raj Upreti, Director of the Child Health Division of the Department of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal, said, “WHO prequalification of a typhoid vaccine will accelerate the availability of this vaccine for children in Nepal and throughout Asia, where the burden of typhoid fever is highest.”
Typhoid vaccines have been given an “immediate” implementation priority by a WHO South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) Vaccine Prioritization Workshop. The use of typhoid vaccines in high risk groups is recommended by the WHO. Typhoid vaccines are also prioritized but not yet funded by the GAVI Alliance.
“Vaccines are the best hope for preventing deaths and illness from typhoid fever,” said Christopher Nelson, PhD MPH, Director of the Coalition Against Typhoid Secretariat at the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “Now, suppliers, international agencies, funders, and local governments must assure that these vaccines reach the children who need them most.”
Source: Sabin Vaccine Institute