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Expansion of Malaria Vaccine Rollout in Africa Leads to Vaccination of Nearly 10,000 Children

Since the start of this year, nearly 10,000 children in Burkina Faso and Cameroon have received the RTS,S malaria vaccine. A wider rollout of the malaria vaccine is also taking place in several African countries, with Cameroon being the first outside the malaria vaccine pilot program to do so.

On 22 January 2024, Cameroon launched the vaccine and integrated it into its national routine immunization program across 42 health districts in the country’s 10 regions. Burkina Faso introduced the vaccine on 5 February, becoming the latest country in the region to start the immunization.

This vaccine complements the existing range of malaria control measures to prevent the disease and lower its burden, marking a significant milestone in advancing the fight against this deadly disease,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

The vaccine rollout in the two countries marks the start of a major initiative by the WHO Regional Office for Africa’s Accelerated Malaria Vaccines Introduction and Rollout in Africa (AMVIRA).

AMVIRA was developed in response to the planned introduction of the two malaria vaccines (RTS,S and R21) into the routine immunization schedules of 19 countries in the Africa region in 2024.

WHO is working with countries to set up comprehensive preparations such as national vaccination policy and guidelines, integrating the new vaccine into the delivery schedule of other vaccines and health interventions, developing an operational rollout plan, training of healthcare workers, investing in infrastructure, technical capacity, vaccine storage, community engagement, and demand generation.

As the malaria vaccine rollout extends to all eligible countries, WHO will continue to ensure that experts are deployed where needed, implement robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track progress, identify challenges, and facilitate timely interventions where required.

The African continent accounted for approximately 94% of global malaria cases and 95% of related deaths in 2022, with the highest burden of malaria. Of the 608,000 deaths caused by malaria in 2022, 77% were children under 5 years of age, mostly in Africa.

[1] Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Sudan

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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