- Following a 13% success rate pilot campaign in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi, the African nation of Cameroon started the official rollout of the 'RTS,S' malaria vaccine on Monday. It will be free for all children up to the age of six months old and occur alongside other routine vaccines to make it easier for parents.1
- RTS,S, also known as Mosquirix, is only about 30% effective and requires four doses, with its production estimated at up to 15M doses per year. Meanwhile, a second vaccine, which was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) last October and is being developed at Oxford University, is reportedly cheaper, requires three doses, and could have an annual output of 200M doses.2
- For now, 662K doses of RTS,S will be distributed to Cameroon, which accounts for 95% of all global malaria deaths. The West African nation suffered over 2M cases of malaria in 2022, and the disease accounted for 12% of deaths for children under five in 2021.3
- Malaria also kills more than 600K people across Africa every year, with more than 80% of the total deaths on the continent attributed to children under five. Over 300K doses of RTS,S arrived in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, in November, following more than 2M inoculations across Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi since 2019.4
- According to the global vaccine alliance, GAVI, 20 other countries are expected to receive their own doses this year, including Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone. However, GAVI said only 18M doses will be issued before 2025.1
- Neither of the WHO-approved vaccines inhibits transmission of malaria, which means other measures will need to be implemented to help boost protection — including bed nets and insecticidal sprays.2
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Council on Foreign Relations. Widespread vaccine hesitancy in Africa was exemplified during COVID, and this destructive issue has not gone away. Obstacles to successful vaccination campaigns include individual, cultural, and religious beliefs as well as the spread of misinformation. National, continental, and global institutions must build upon their pro-vaccine campaigns if they want to help African states increase inoculations and decrease deadly diseases.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by BMJ. The patronizing tone with which global health institutions speak about Africa is astounding. Perhaps modern-day vaccine hesitancy has nothing to do with misinformation and more to do with the data. As the WHO was beginning its implied consent RTS,S vaccine rollout — meaning the recipients receiving the jab were unaware of it — they probably also didn't disclose that studies showed the vaccine to increase meningitis by 10 times and double the risk of death in girls.