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August 2022
International Vaccine Access Center
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Celebrating Nigeria’s milestone rotavirus vaccine introduction launch

Dear colleagues,
Today, Monday, August 22, 2022, marks a monumental day as we celebrate Nigeria’s national launch of rotavirus vaccine introduction into the country’s routine immunization program. Nigeria’s rotavirus vaccine introduction has been a long-awaited event, making the inaugural rollout a milestone moment for Nigeria as well as the rest of the world united in efforts to reduce the mortality and morbidity of diarrheal diseases caused by rotavirus.

The implications of this launch event are tremendous. As of 2019, just four countries—Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Pakistan—were estimated to account for half of all global rotavirus deaths. Nigeria carries the heavy burden of being the country with the greatest number of rotavirus deaths in children under 5 years of age, accounting for 30% of all global under 5 rotavirus deaths (2019) (see figure 1).[1]
Therefore, the significant impact this introduction will have on both Nigeria and the world can’t be understated. Nigeria makes up 12% of the 58.6 million children in the world that lack access to rotavirus vaccine. As a result of this important achievement, furthered by future outreach efforts to sustain high vaccination coverage, Nigeria has the potential to facilitate over 6.9 million children gaining access to this life-saving vaccine each year.[2]
The Government of Nigeria has been able to overcome enormous hurdles over the past few years in order to make this historic decision. The country has decided to introduce Bharat Biotech’s product, ROTAVAC ®. The introduction of this product has the potential to save countless number of deaths and hospitalizations in the years to come while providing enormous economic benefit to the country and families. 
Today’s launch is being held alongside the Flag Off of the African Vaccination Week (AVW) and the celebration of Nigeria’s three years of being polio free. ROTA Council would like to recognize and commend the efforts that the Nigerian government is taking to protect the lives of its children and reducing the global burden of vaccine preventable diseases. The ROTA Council would like to applaud the Government of Nigeria and its partners for this enormous achievement. 
Please join us in congratulating Nigeria on their massive achievement and in celebrating the lives and human suffering that will be saved as a result!
Mathu Santosham
Figure 1.[3] The countries with the greatest number of rotavirus deaths as a proportion of all global rotavirus deaths in children under 5 (2019)[1]
[1] Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network. Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 (GBD 2019) Results. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) 2020; Available from: gbd-results-tool. 
[2] International Vaccine Access Center. VIEW- hub. [cited 2022 January]; Available from:
[3] ROTA Council at International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2022). Rotavirus Disease and Immunization: The Epidemiology and Disease Burden of Rotavirus.
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