Cameroon pioneers malaria vaccination, sets stage for 19 other Countries


Cameroon recently launched a vaccination program against malaria to help eliminate the strain the disease has heaped on its health system. This move marks a significant milestone in the West African country given how prevalent the disease has been in the region. The launch of the vaccination program began today. 

  • Cameroon launches milestone malaria vaccination program to address the disease's impact on the health system.
  • WHO approves GSK's RTS,S vaccine for deployment alongside mosquito nets in the nationwide initiative.
  • 6.6 million children in 20 West African countries are set to receive malaria vaccinations in 2024–2025.

As reported by the American news agency, Reuters. The World Health Organization (WHO), approved the use of the RTS,S vaccine, developed by the pharmaceutical giant GSK. This vaccine alongside other malaria deterrents like mosquito nets is going to be deployed to help eliminate the virus. The initiative has been 40 years in the making.

According to the International Vaccine Alliance Gavi, the West African country Cameroon is the first nation to administer doses through a routine immunization program that 19 other countries intend to carry out in 2024, following successful trials conducted in Ghana and Kenya.

Through 2024–2025, 6.6 million children in these nations are expected to receive malaria vaccinations.

At a joint online meeting with the WHO, Gavi, and other organizations, Mohammed Abdulaziz of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated, "For a long time, we have been waiting for a day like this."

The fight against malaria has hit some speed bumps on the road, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, which had medical practitioners across the globe sideline malaria to focus on the coronavirus. As a result, malaria cases rose by around 5 million year-on-year in 2022, according to the WHO.

Majority of the countries on the continent have requested dosages of the vaccine as fear of shortage has been quelled by "a second completed a key regulatory step in December," as seen in the Reuters report.

Kate O'Brien, WHO's director of immunization, disclosed during a briefing that the introduction of the second vaccine "is expected to result in sufficient vaccine supply to meet the high demand and reach millions more children."

The University of Oxford's R21 vaccine may be released in May or June, according to Aurelia Nguyen, Chief Program Officer of Gavi.

Source of the article: Business Insider Africa

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