(eta = edited to add)
eta: results of independent investigation:Meningitis Vaccine in Chad: Not the cause of anything except immunity to Meningitis A
There is a relatively new meningitis vaccine, MenAfriVac®, that was developed specifically for use in Africa's meningitis belt. According to Vaccine News Daily in December, 2012, "The World Health Organization announced earlier this month that a resident of Africa’s meningitis belt would receive the 100 millionth MenAfriVac meningitis vaccine."
The current situation in Chad is dire, as a March 2012 press release from Medicins Sans Frontiers reveals
Chad Facing Malnutrition and Meningitis Emergencies
NEW YORK/N’DJAMENA, MARCH 28, 2012—Severe acute malnutrition in parts of Chad has reached emergency levels, requiring immediate life-saving interventions, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today....
Meanwhile, a meningococcal meningitis outbreak has struck the country....In response, MSF will launch, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, mass meningitis vaccination campaigns...The campaign will utilize the new MenAfriVac vaccine, which confers longer immunity from meningitis for a wider section of a population than previous vaccines.
Meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that strikes during the dry season, when people’s nasal mucus becomes too dry to act as an effective barrier against bacteria. This natural protection does not usually return until the middle of May, or sometimes as late as June, with the arrival of the rainy season. If it goes untreated, the illness is fatal in 50 percent of cases, while 30 percent of survivors suffer serious neurological effects or are left without their hearing.
On January 6 2012, the rarely-truthful anti-vaccine activist Christina England published a story at the blog VaxTruthFrankLies. The story goes that in the village of Gouro in the department of Borkou Ennedi Tibesti, a meningitis immunization clinic was held in December 2012 using the MenAfriVac. About 500 children were vaccinated. Later 40 or more fell ill with alarming symptoms highly unusual after vaccination.
At this blog, a person claiming to be a vaccine expert is telling a different story http://makaila.over-blog.com/article-le-drame-post-vaccinal-de-gouro-explique-par-un-expert-national-independant-du-tchad-113898660.html (translation by Google with hand edits)
Last week Chad sites relayed news of illnesses following a vaccination clinic in the area of Guoro (department of Borkou Ennedi Tibesti (BET). This prompted the Minister Ngaourang Nahor and his team to go to the site of the incident, through city of Faya. They are currently exploring this situation.
Following the clinic, 30 children were evacuated to Faya for presenting with headache, insomnia, convulsions, hallucinations, fever, etc ... After administration of vaccine against meningitis A meningo due to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A. [It was reported in La Voix that the vaccine used was MenAfriVac.]
These symptoms are known in the medical literature, and are known to experienced vaccinators. For example, in a vaccination campaign against meningitis reported by the London newspaper the Observer in 2000, 13,600 cases of adverse reactions were observed in vaccinees. (eta: a factual discussion of the 2000 meningitis C vaccine scare can be found here. Another news story here. The adverse reactions were for the most part, quite mild) There were even cases of meningitis caused by these vaccines in subjects free of any contact with this disease. (eta: since the vaccine used in the UK in the 1999-2000 campaign was a conjugate vaccine, made by linking a tiny fragment from the bacteria's sugar coat to a protein, it is impossible to acquire the disease from a conjugate vaccine.)
Moreover in Chad, vaccinators and supervisors ignore the stated precautions and administrative procedure for this particular vaccine. This vaccine cannot be mixed with other vaccines, either by combining two different vaccines in a same syringe or administering two two vaccines in a same site. (eta: While it is true that MenAfriVac should not be combined, the degree to which this precaution is violated in Chad is not known, nor is it clear that any administrative improprieties occued in Gouro.)
The illnesses in Gouro (dept. BET) may be explained by breaking the cold chain for this vaccine. (eta: breaking the cold chain would render the vaccine ineffective and would be unlikely to cause illness). Indeed, many supervisors and vaccinators sent to BET do not care about the state of vaccines. They use the cold-chain thermoses and fridges for their own refreshments and set the vaccines at room tempertaure or worse. A supervisor from N'Djamena sent to a vaccination campaign in Fada dared to put his soft drinks in the thermos and put the vaccine in the trunk of the cab of the car where it is more than 110 degrees F when the vaccines should be between 40 to 47 degrees F ... Imagine the consequences of such stupidity on precious vaccines.
Officials of the vaccination program in Chad are negligent or irresponsible toward all campaigns in remote areas such as Kanem, BET or eastern Chad. Either they do not reach their targets or they are neither the means nor the desire to go properly vaccinate these remote populations. These officials lack a professional conscience.
In the Kanem region, many vaccinators are camping in the bush, where they and fill out their records at leisure, burying the vaccines and returning to the capital with 110% figures-- all invented, and without a single child being vaccinated.
About vaccination in BET-- in general, in the scattered towns and villages, the rough roads, the very short time limits, supervisors and vaccinators pretend to be vaccinated and share diems and other emoluments relating to the campaign in which billions are invested each year.
The Gouro incident should prompt our country's authorities to have the awareness and responsibility to sanitize the vile nest at the vaccination program, which is infested with swarming moths, cockroaches and vultures who get rich on the graves of our compatriots, decimated by infectious diseases that an immunization program carried out with contientous rigor would prevent.Dr. M.A.MOriginal story (click to embiggen)
Expert tropical diseases
Researcher in mass vaccinology
Original of Dr. M.A.M's comments (at http://makaila.over-blog.com/article-le-drame-post-vaccinal-de-gouro-explique-par-un-expert-national-independant-du-tchad-113898660.html
image 1 -- click to embiggen
image 2 -- click to embiggenA medical professional discussing the clippings above made the following observations:At any rate, MenAfriVac can be held at temperatures of up to 40 C (104 d F) for up to 4 days without refrigeration. So what's the bottom line? MenAfriVac is saving thousands of lives; more that 100 million people have been vaccinated with it; and something possibly went awry in one Chadian vaccination drive. It's not even clear that the children were paralyzed or remained paralyzed. Validation from actual physicians required. I've contacted both PATH and Medicins Sans Frontieres for more details.
The key is "Selon les parents" (according to the parents) and there has been no genuine medical info forthcoming.
The symptoms are more like those of some sort of poisoning than any meningitis I can think of. Organophosphate insecticide contamination of something the children (ages 7 through 18) ate on their trip to the clinic?
"*many* of the children reacted within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine. He said that at first the children vomited and complained of headaches, before falling to the floor with uncontrollable convulsions while bent over with saliva coming from their mouths."
For one, even if you get injected in the arm with a virulent meningitis bacteria ... it takes longer than 24 hours for you to incubate it and show symptoms. And headaches, vomiting and convulsing with excessive salivation aren't typical of meningitis.
[Relative to Dr. M.A.M's speculations about the effect of breaking the cold chain] Breaking the cold chain ruins the vaccine and makes it ineffective because the organism dies, it doesn't become more virulent.