The malaria vaccine recommended by the WHO last Wednesday for “massive deployment” is already a reality in some regions. The country is one of three – along with Malawi and Ghana – that have participated in the pilot phase to introduce this vaccine. In Nairobi, the results of this pilot phase are seen as encouraging. Not only because it has enabled a 30% reduction in serious forms of the disease, according to the WHO, but also because this new vaccine has been widely accepted by the population.
as reported from Nairobi, Florence morice
For this first malaria vaccine to be fully effective, each child should receive four doses. During this pilot phase in 6 counties in Kenya: 88% of children received the first, 84% the second, 70% the third … For the fourth dose administered at 2 years of age, results are still expected.
But for Rose Jalang’o, head of the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s vaccination program, these figures already testify to the broad support of the population. Mothers know him. It is not a parallel system. Then everyone here knows about malaria, has seen his or her other life affected by this disease. And it makes people more susceptible to this vaccine. ”
For Dr. Samuel, the pediatrician and member of the team of researchers who worked on this evaluation, these good results can also be explained by the fact that, unlike other vaccines, such as Covid-19, it has been developed over decades and especially on African mark.
“This vaccine was tested in Kenya, before this pilot phase. Being able to tell people that it has not developed in another country, and that a lot of research on this vaccine has been done on the Kenyan population, has helped us a lot. ”
This vaccine is not the “miracle cure”, but warns the pediatrician. Among other things, it is a tool, he says, that does not refrain from using known preventive methods: mosquito nets, sprays and screening tests.
Since 2019, a total of 2.3 million doses have been administered in the three countries that participated in the pilot phase, in regions where malaria transmission is considered moderate or severe.