TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

CDC Foundation receives $13.5 million for meningitis, rotavirus vaccines

The CDC Foundation announced on Tuesday that it received $13.5 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the implementation of meningitis and rotavirus vaccines.

The grants will allow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide, according to the CDC Foundation.

"Meningococcal meningitis and rotavirus gastroenteritis are deadly diseases but are increasingly preventable now that immunization initiatives in the African meningitis belt and other resource-poor areas are reaching the most vulnerable populations," Anne Schuchat, the director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said. "The Gates Foundation funding will allow CDC to work together with countries and international partners to assure that a strong science base is available to sustain prevention efforts. Policy makers need this type of information to justify their own investments in life-saving vaccine programs."

The first grant provides $10 million over five years to ensure the availability of meningitis surveillance data from throughout the African meningitis belt that will help evaluate the impact of the meningococcal vaccine, MenAfriVac.

"We are very appreciative of the generous investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in these critical programs that will protect people and save lives," Charles Stokes, the president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, said. "With the experts at CDC and partners in Africa we will advance the prevention of disease, disability, and death through immunization."

Two additional grants are meant to advance understanding of the rotavirus vaccination in Africa. Rotavirus causes approximately half a million deaths annually throughout the world in children under the age of five.

The CDC Foundation was established by Congress to help the CDC forge public-private partnerships to aid the agency in saving lives and protecting people from health and safety threats.