Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) Introduction in Nigeria

On April 1, 2016, Mrs. Lovina Ogolo arrives at Foursees Primary Health Care Center in Rivers State, Nigeria with her six-week old grandson, David Ogolo, to receive his vaccinations. She shows up early at the clinic with other caregivers. Some were referred by friends or health workers, while others heard a radio advertisement that a new vaccine protecting babies from pneumonia is now available in Rivers State.

Clinic staff review each child’s immunization records to determine the appropriate vaccines and before the babies are immunized, a healthcare worker addresses the caregivers, explaining in detail the vaccines their children will receive.. Babies like David who are six weeks old will be vaccinated against diseases such as polio, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and as of recently, will now receive pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) for added protection against pneumococcal diseases.


With an annual birth cohort of over 7.4 million infants, Nigeria has 5 percent of the global pneumococcal case burden[1] with an estimated 121,519 pneumonia-related deaths occurring in 2010.[2] To reduce this burden, and the morbidity and mortality associated with streptococcus pneumonia infections, Nigeria submitted a proposal to Gavi for funding to introduce PCV into Nigeria’s immunization schedule at no charge to all babies across the country. A phased rollout of PCV commenced on December 22, 2014, with support from CHAI and other in-country stakeholders. The introduction of PCV in Nigeria is expected to save 35,000 infant lives annually.

Although a prolonged healthcare worker strike delayed the introduction of PCV in Rivers and several other states, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), CHAI, and partners have supported Rivers State and other phase 1 and 2 states to complete the rollout of PCV, which commenced in Rivers State on December 14, 2015. CHAI, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, helped to coordinate and plan the introduction, develop training materials for healthcare workers, provide data tools to ensure a timely introduction, and accelerate vaccine distribution. The NPHCDA and partners will have trained more than 20,000 front line health workers to provide PCV and other vaccines by the time the introduction is complete.


Favor, another child brought to the Foursees Primary Health Care Center, is held by her mother as Mrs. Churchill, an immunization nurse, administers the PCV vaccine with a small needle prick to the upper right thigh. Through her training, Mrs. Churchill is well prepared to provide children with their life-saving vaccines and to serve as a vaccination advocate in her community. The injection takes mere seconds, but will significantly reduce Favor’s chance of contracting pneumococcal diseases for the rest of her life. Favour now joins the nearly 1.5 million other children in Nigeria who have already received their complete vaccinations with PCV since the introduction.[3] It took years of planning and effort to ensure the vaccine was available for David and Favour on this day; the NPHCDA, CHAI, and other partners are continuing work to ensure the PCV vaccine is made available to all babies in Nigeria who are yet to have access by the end of the introduction process in July 2016.

[1] O’Brien K.O. et al. 2009, Burden of disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in children younger than 5 years: global estimates. Lancet 374: 893–902
[2] CHERG, 2010, Estimated number of deaths by cause in children younger than 5 years by WHO region and country.
[3] RI Performance Feedback, Dec 2015, NPHCDA