Malaria Vaccine GSK
The malaria vaccine (RTS, S), next to a syringe.

Twelve African Countries to get First-ever Malaria Vaccine, Nigeria Excluded

Despite having highest burden of the disease, Nigeria will not benefit from 18 million doses of first-ever malaria vaccine allocated to 12 African countries for 2023–2025 by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to latest figures from the WHO, in 2021, for instance, around 247 million cases of malaria were reported and about 619,000 people died.

Four African countries accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths worldwide: Nigeria (31.3 per cent), Democratic Republic of Congo (12.6 per cent), Tanzania (4.1 per cent) and Niger (3.9 per cent).

Instead, the beneficiaries are Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP) countries: Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, who will receive doses to continue vaccinations in pilot areas.

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Allocations were also made for new introductions in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in a statement, yesterday, said the distributions were determined through application of principles outlined in the framework for allocation of limited malaria vaccine supply, which prioritises areas of highest need, where the risk of illness and death among children are highest.

Meanwhile, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had, on July 18, 2023, said it was set to begin clinical trial of malaria vaccine nationwide.

Gavi added: “Since 2019, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have been delivering malaria vaccine through the MVIP, coordinated by WHO and funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Unitaid.

“The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine has been administered to more than 1.7 million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, since 2019, and has been shown to be safe and effective, resulting in substantial reduction in severe malaria and a fall in child deaths. At least, 28 African countries have expressed interest in receiving the malaria vaccine.”