World’s First Malaria Vaccine Rollout Kicks Off in Cameroon

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A move projected to save the lives of thousands of children across Africa has thus birthed the world’s first ever routine vaccine programme against malaria.

From the stables of genius Gates and Melinda Foundation, developed by the popular Big pharma GSK and marketed under the brand name Mosquirix, this symbolic first jab has officially kicked off in Cameroon, and a baby girl named Daniella is the first to receive it at a health facility near Yaoundé. Aren’t this trio lifesavers?!

Worthy of note is that this malaria vaccine has been in the making for more than 30 years, and suddenly, a few years after the mess that COVID-19 was, it is now out in the market and ready to be used to “save lives.” It has been reported that Cameroon (an African country) is the first country to start immunising children with the malaria vaccine as part of its national immunisation program. The love for Africa by these ‘elites’ seem quite obvious!

Ahead of the launch, Cameroon had began receiving jabs and doses of the RTS,S, vaccine developed by GSK. The vaccine was part of a pilot program carried out in several other African countries, but is now poised for a broader rollout across the entire continent. With a four-dose jab schedule, the malaria vaccine program in Cameroon targets all children who are 6 months or older on December 31, 2023.

In a press release by WHO, Helene, the mother of baby Daniella said she’s seen how harmful malaria can be. “I’m committed to ensuring that my children get all four doses of the vaccine, and I’ll take other steps like making sure they sleep under mosquito nets.”

Other African countries that are fast on their heels in finalising their malaria vaccine rollouts include Benin, Burkina Faso, and Liberia. WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, and other partners are currently working with some African countries on vaccine delivery, and campaigns rollout.

While the rollout is undoubtedly a relief, its relatively low efficacy rate means that it is not a “silver bullet”, argues Willis Akhwale at End Malaria Council Kenya. Here we go again, yet another play out of the COVID-19 vaccine in the making!

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