A child needs four doses before the age of two
The world’s first malaria vaccine is being rolled out in parts of Kenya from Friday, reported BBC News.
It will be added to the routine vaccination schedule and more than 300,000 children are expected to receive the vaccine over the next three years.
The vaccine has been 30 years in the making and was already administered in Ghana and Malawi in pilot projects earlier this year.
It works by training the immune system to attack the malaria parasite. A child will need four doses of this vaccine before reaching two years of age. It prevents malaria in four out of 10 cases and has been found to reduce the most severe cases of malaria by a third.
Malaria kills one child globally every two minutes. The World Health Organisation reports that more than 400,000 people die globally because of the disease each year, most of them in Africa.
“We still have an incidence of 27% (malaria infection) for children under five,” the director general of Kenya’s health ministry, Wekesa Masasabi, told Reuters.
He added that the vaccine had become a necessity as other measures such as mosquito nets had not helped to eliminate the disease. Clinical trials have already shown the malaria vaccine to be safe and effective.