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The Conversation

WHO Recommends Malaria Vaccine for Children

Vaccine could change lives in Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that young children receive a vaccine that is effective against one of the most common and deadliest variants of malaria - falciparum malaria.

In 2019, over 250,000 children under 5 years old in Africa died of malaria. Transmitted via mosquito bite (and less commonly though direct blood contact), the parasite can target different areas of the body depending on the variant.

The vaccine, RTS,S, was shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths in children by over 70%. The vaccine is transportable, and could save thousands of lives, especially in areas where there are not enough mosquito nets.

However, there is still work to do. The vaccine only protects against one variant, requires several doses, and is only effective in very young children. Africa is also not immune to the misinformation that is spreading vaccine hesitancy around the world. Researchers should continue to look for vaccines for adults, which could hopefully be administered in fewer doses.

For more, head to The Conversation Africa.