Africa: Nearly 10 000 Children Vaccinated As Malaria Vaccine Rollout in Africa Expands

Brazzaville — Nearly 10 000 children in Burkina Faso and Cameroon have now received the RTS,S malaria vaccine since being introduced this year. A wider malaria vaccine rollout is underway this year in several African countries, with Cameroon being the first outside the malaria vaccine pilot programme to do so.

Cameroon launched the vaccine on 22 January 2024. It is being integrated into its national routine immunization programme in more than 500 public and private health facilities 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 kick off the immunization. The game-changing vaccine complements the existing range of malaria control measures to prevent the disease and lower its burden.

“Malaria is one of the major health challenges our region faces. The wider rollout of the malaria vaccine marks a significant milestone in advancing the fight against this deadly disease,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “We’re committed to supporting countries to ensure that all eligible children are protected from the devastating impacts of this preventable illness.”

The vaccine rollout in the two countries mark 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 as a response to the planned introduction of the two malaria vaccines (RTS,S and R21) into the routine immunization schedules of 19 countries[1] the Africa region in 2024. Through AMVIRA, WHO in Africa will strengthen the provision of state-of-the-art support to countries in their efforts to effectively and efficiently introduce and rollout malaria vaccines. The initiative also enhances coordination with partners, UNICEF, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and other partners.