Launch in Rwanda of Africa’s first national rotavirus vaccination program

Merck (MSD outside the United States and Canada) said it welcomed the launch in Rwanda of Africa’s first national rotavirus vaccination program with ROTATEQ (rotavirus vaccine, live, oral, pentavalent). Merck noted that the first infants will receive ROTATEQ at a health center in Musanze District, Northern Province, Rwanda. Following the initial launch, ROTATEQ will be routinely administered to all infants in Rwanda as part of its national vaccination program. During 2012, the Government of Rwanda Ministry of Health expects more than 100,000 children will receive the vaccine. Mark Feinberg, M.D., Ph.D., chief public health and science officer, Merck Vaccines, said, “We congratulate the Government of Rwanda for the launch of this important public health initiative and applaud its efforts to help protect Rwanda’s children against rotavirus-associated diarrhea through a comprehensive initiative including vaccination and other public health efforts. Rwanda is committed to the vaccination of their children and their accomplishments to date have been impressive. Given the impact of rotavirus gastroenteritis in children, working to help reduce severe rotavirus disease represents a critically important public health goal and we’re pleased to be able to work with the GAVI Alliance to make ROTATEQ available to Rwanda and other GAVI-eligible countries worldwide.”