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WHO endorses groundbreaking malaria vaccine for children

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions.

This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”

More than 260,000 African children under the age of 5 die from malaria annually as it remains the leading cause of child mortality and illness. This comes as good news as in recent years the WHO and its partners have reported stagnation in progress in fighting the deadly disease.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said that, “For centuries, malaria has stalked sub-Saharan Africa, causing immense personal suffering.” He added that, “We have long hoped for an effective malaria vaccine and now for the first time ever, we have such a vaccine recommended for widespread use. Today’s recommendation offers a glimmer of hope for the continent which shoulders the heaviest burden of the disease and we expect many more African children to be protected from malaria and grow into healthy adults.”

The RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine be used for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria in children living in regions with moderate to high transmission and shall be administered in a schedule of 4 doses in Children from 5 months of age for the reduction of disease and burden.

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