Malawi Begins Vaccinating Young Children Against Malaria In World First
AMOS GUMULIRA VIA GETTY IMAGES
The pilot program hopes to vaccinate at least 360,000 children a year in three countries, potentially saving thousands of lives.
The government of Malawi has begun administering the world’s first approved malaria vaccine to young children as part of a sweeping pilot program that could save tens of thousands of lives per year across some of Africa’s poorest regions, advocates say.
The World Health Organization announced the project Tuesday, saying children in Malawi, Kenya and Ghana would soon receive injections of the vaccine, known as RTS,S. The vaccine is the only one currently on the market, although inoculation only protects about a third of people from the mosquito-born disease. But RTS,S also shows significant overall reductions in severity for those who get the injection and end up contracting malaria anyways.