July 4, 2023 – LABASA, Fiji – Today, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) of Fiji launched a mass vaccination campaign against typhoid in the Northern Division, aiming to immunize the entire population between 9 months and 65 years of age. The public health campaign is a component of the Typhoid in Fiji – Vaccination towards Elimination (Ty-FIVE) project, led by the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in partnership with the Fijian MHMS and researchers from the Peter Doherty Institute and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Health care workers across the Northern Division will administer a single dose of Typbar® typhoid conjugate vaccine to approximately 132,000 people over the next 8 weeks. Following the campaign, Ty-FIVE will use collected data to assess the impact of preventive vaccination in an endemic setting.
“We are incredibly proud to launch the Ty-FIVE mass vaccination campaign today in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services of Fiji. Vaccines are a critical tool for typhoid control, and we anticipate that this preventive campaign will have a significant impact in relieving the typhoid burden in the Northern Division,” said Dr. Florian Marks, Deputy Director General at IVI and Principal Investigator of the Ty-FIVE project.
Honorable Dr. Ratu Atonio Rabici Lalabalavu, Minister for Health and Medical Services of Fiji, said during the launch ceremony, “I am hopeful that the impact of this typhoid vaccination campaign will be far-reaching and broad, not only reducing morbidity and mortality but also having economic and social benefits for the North and the nation as a whole.”
“Today’s launch signifies not only the start of a mass vaccination campaign that will protect the entire eligible population of the Northern Division against typhoid, but the culmination of two years of strengthening capacity for disease surveillance and prevention on the island. I am very grateful to Ty-FIVE’s project lead in Fiji, Dr. Alumita Vuakanisakea, and her team for their collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to enhance clinical, laboratory, and public health activities to eliminate typhoid for good,” said Dr. Raphaël M. Zellweger, Senior Research Scientist at IVI and Technical Lead of Ty-FIVE.
“Although typhoid is a treatable disease, prevention through vaccination is a safe, cost-effective, and sustainable solution to disease control. Mass vaccination campaigns are a community effort, and I am grateful to everyone who made this campaign possible, from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services for their leadership, the health workers stationed across the Northern Division who will spend the next 8 weeks administering vaccine in schools, clinics, and other sites, the Ty-FIVE team in Labasa and Seoul for two years of preparation, and the people of the Northern Division for trusting in this initiative,” said Dr. Alumita Vuakanisakea, Ty-FIVE Project in Fiji.
The Ty-FIVE mass vaccination campaign will use a single dose of Vi-TT (brand name Typbar®), pre-qualified by the World Health Organization in 2018 and recommended for use from 6 months to 65 years due to its immunogenicity, long-lasting protection and suitability for use in babies as young as 6 months. The Ty-FIVE consortium is grateful to Prof. Young Chul Sung for his private donation that funds this project.
About typhoid fever
Typhoid fever, caused by Salmonella Typhi, is a febrile illness with significant disease burden that disproportionately affects children and young adults living in environments with inadequate access to safe water and sanitation infrastructure. Typhoid causes an estimated 11 million cases annually, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. Substantial case numbers and frequent outbreaks have been reported in Pacific Island nations including Fiji, Samoa, Nauru, and Papua New Guinea. Typhoid, in addition to leptospirosis and dengue, is one of three priority diseases of the Fijian Ministry of Health.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a non-profit international organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health.
IVI’s current portfolio includes vaccines at all stages of pre-clinical and clinical development for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, such as cholera, typhoid, chikungunya, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, hepatitis E, HPV, COVID-19, and more. IVI developed the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine, pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), and developed a new-generation typhoid conjugate vaccine that is currently under assessment for WHO PQ.
IVI is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea with a Europe Regional Office in Sweden and Collaborating Centers in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. 39 countries and the WHO are members of IVI, and the governments of the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, Finland, and Thailand provide state funding. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Advocacy Manager
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