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Malaria vaccination begins

Wednesday April 24th, 2019

The first ever national malaria vaccine campaign was launched yesterday in the African country of Malawi.

Two other countries, Ghana and Kenya, are to introduce vaccination in the coming weeks.

The projects are being treated as pilot projects by the World Health Organisation.

Children up to the age of two will receive the RTS,S vaccine. Up to ten million doses have been donated by developers GSK to enable national programmes to begin.

It has taken 30 years to develop the vaccine, which prevented up to 40% of cases of malaria in clinical trials.

WHO said the vaccine would not be a substitute for other malaria prevention measures, such as treated bed nets.

WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said: “This is a day to celebrate as we begin to learn more about what this tool can do to change the trajectory of malaria through childhood vaccination."

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We have seen tremendous gains from bed nets and other measures to control malaria in the last 15 years, but progress has stalled and even reversed in some areas. We need new solutions to get the malaria response back on track, and this vaccine gives us a promising tool to get there.

“The malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives.”

Tags: Africa | World Health

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