Twelve African Countries to Receive 18 million Doses of Malaria Vaccine in Historic Rollout

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12 African countries will get a total of 18 million doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine over the next two years. The Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined forces to combat one of Africa’s major causes of mortality. Throughout its trial run in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, the vaccine Mosquirix (RTS, S) considerably decreased incidences of severe malaria.

In 2019, over 1.7 million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi received the RTS, S/AS01 vaccination. This achievement is highlighted in a joint statement outlining the impact of the Mosquirix immunization. The vaccine’s effectiveness and safety have resulted in a significant reduction in severe malaria cases and fatalities among youngsters. Because of the promising results, at least 28 African nations are now conducting more research into this technology. 

The next nine nations to get the Mosquirix vaccine are Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. To establish dose distribution, a strategy was adopted that gave weight to locations with the greatest need and the highest risk of malaria sickness and death among children. 

Malaria is one of Africa’s worst health threats because it is transmitted from person to person through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Nearly 80% of the world’s malaria cases and deaths occur in Africa. Children under the age of five accounted for about 78% of the region’s mortality in 2021. Malaria affected 234 million people in the region, killing 593,000 people. Malaria is one of the leading causes of mortality among children under the age of five in Africa, accounting for over 500,000 fatalities each year. 

Although malaria is a worldwide problem, this study focuses on the African continent. India was responsible for more than 83 percent of malaria deaths in Southeast Asia that year, according to the World Malaria Report 2022. The study also emphasizes the dramatic decrease in malaria cases over the last five years.

The R21/Matrix-MTM malaria vaccine has showed promising results in clinical studies, prompting the Serum Institute in India to collaborate with the University of Oxford to enhance vaccine manufacturing and distribution. The exact steps India will take to obtain the Mosquirix vaccine are unknown at this time. Twelve African countries now have access to 18 million doses of the Mosquirix malaria vaccine, marking an important step forward in the battle against malaria.

Malaria immunization programs in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have proven to be beneficial, suggesting that increasing vaccine coverage might save many lives and lessen the severity of malaria infections. While significant progress has been made in Africa, the rest of the world still has a long way to go until malaria is eliminated and vulnerable people are safeguarded. 

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