The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that, two years after the launch of a pilot programme, more than 1.7 million doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine have been administered in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, giving more than 650,000 children additional malaria protection.
The number of children reached in this relatively short period indicates strong community demand for the vaccine, as well as the capacity of the countries’ child immunization programmes to deliver the vaccine on a novel schedule (four doses up to approximately the age of two years). At a time when global progress in malaria control has stalled, the protection provided by the RTS,S malaria vaccine, when added to currently recommended malaria control interventions, has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives per year.
RTS,S is the only vaccine that has been shown to reduce malaria in children, including life-threatening severe malaria, related hospital admissions and the need for blood transfusions. The vaccine is being piloted in areas of moderate-to-high malaria transmission, where malaria can account for up to 60% of childhood outpatient visits to health facilities.
Source: WHO, 20 April 2021