Côte d’Ivoire receives first life-saving malaria vaccines

Cote d’Ivoire this week received its first vaccines against malaria, a disease that kills four people a day in the country, mostly small children, the government said Saturday.

A total of 656,600 doses have been received, which will “initially vaccinate 250,000 children aged between 0 and 23 months” in 16 regions, the government said.

Although the number of malaria-related deaths has fallen from 3,222 in 2017 to 1,316 in 2020 in Cote d’Ivoire, the disease “remains the leading cause of medical consultations”, according to the Ministry of Health.

The R21/Matrix-M vaccine has been authorised by Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and the Central African Republic.

The Ivorian government is also distributing mosquito nets and spraying insecticide in endemic areas.

Malaria causes fever, headaches, and chills, and can become serious or even fatal if left untreated.

In 2022, it caused more than 600,000 deaths worldwide, 95 percent of them in Africa, and 80 percent of them in children under the age of 5, according to the WHO.

The vaccine is the second malaria vaccine that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended for children and is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).