Gavi Begins Major Typhoid Vaccination Campaign Against Outbreak In Zimbabwe

Geneva-based Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, today announced the start of a major two-week campaign to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people in Harare, Zimbabwe against typhoid, after an outbreak recurrence there. The campaign will be the first in Africa to use a new long-lasting typhoid vaccine that can be administered to young children. Nearly 2,000 cases of typhoid have been reported since a second wave of outbreak arose in September, Gavi said.

There are tens of millions of cases of typhoid worldwide every year, with well over 100,000 deaths, the organisation said. The main cause is unsafe water and poor sanitation.

The full press release is reprinted below:


GENEVA, 22 February 2019 – A major typhoid vaccination campaign begins today in Harare to tackle a drug-resistant outbreak of the disease.

The campaign aims to vaccinate 325,000 people in nine suburbs of Zimbabwe’s capital. The campaign will be the first in Africa to use a new Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) which, unlike other typhoid vaccines, can be administered to young children and has long-lasting immunity.

This is the second wave of a major typhoid outbreak in Harare which first began in October 2017. This second wave began in September 2018 and has so far resulted in 1,810 cases and two deaths.

Around one in five cases in Harare are estimated to be resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin – the first line of defence against the disease – with an alarming 73% resistance reported in certain areas. With drug resistant genes circulating, there is a risk that resistance could grow.

“While typhoid vaccines have existed for over a century, previously they could only offer short term protection and couldn’t be used to protect those most vulnerable to this severe disease: young children,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “These new conjugate vaccines will be a game-changer, not only in the battle against typhoid but also in the global effort to tackle drug resistance. The fact that they are now ready to be used to contain this devastating outbreak in Zimbabwe is fantastic news.”

The campaign will run until 4 March and will target children aged 6 months to 15 years old in eight Harare suburbs: Budiriro, Dzivarasekwa, Glen Norah, Glenview, Hatcliffe, Hopley, Mufakose, Kuwadzana. In Mbare district, where the disease has impacted adult populations, the campaign will target children as well as adults up to 45 years old. The campaign will mainly be funded by Gavi, with some additional funding from WHO,  and carried out by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health, with support from WHO and CDC.

Vaccines, though an important part of a broader control strategy, are only a short term solution to typhoid. The best and only long term, sustainable solution is investment in water and sanitation infrastructure.  When a community has clean water and good sanitation, the spread of typhoid is limited.

In November 2017 the Gavi Board agreed to open a funding window of US$85 million to pay for the roll out of the new Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine. Bharat Biotech International Limited became the first company to have a vaccine prequalified by the WHO in December 2017, following which Gavi began to accept applications from countries for funding. This campaign in Harare is the first to be funded by Gavi. The Zimbabwe government is now working with partners, including Gavi, on a potential future introduction of TCV into its routine immunization schedule.

Both cholera and typhoid are endemic to Harare. Outbreaks of both diseases have been associated with increased use of contaminated boreholes and shallow wells due to municipal water shortages in the city. Typhoid fever causes an estimated 11 to 21 million cases and 128,000 to 161,000 deaths worldwide each year. Severe complications from typhoid include intestinal perforation, intestinal hemorrhage, meningitis, hepatitis, coma and shock.

Notes to Editors

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. Gavi uses innovative finance mechanisms to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, Gavi has contributed to the immunisation of 700 million children and the prevention of 10 million future deaths. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is supported by donor governments (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the State of Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States), the European Commission, Alwaleed Philanthropies, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as private and corporate partners (Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., The Audacious Project, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, China Merchants Group, Comic Relief, Deutsche Post DHL, the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation, Girl Effect, The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), the Gulf Youth Alliance, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Majid Al Futtaim, Orange,  Philips, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, UPS and Vodafone).


James Fulker, Gavi Media Manager
+41 79 429 55 05

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