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World Health Organization (WHO) Endorses New Malaria Vaccine for Children

R21 vaccine is the second malaria vaccine endorsed by WHO, following the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a recommendation for a new vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, designed to prevent malaria in children.

This endorsement follows guidance from the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization and the Malaria Policy Advisory Group. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus endorsed the recommendation during the organization's biannual meeting held from September 25 to 29, as announced in a press statement on Monday.

In April, Nigeria became the second country, after Ghana, to approve the R21 malaria vaccine. Developed by the University of Oxford and manufactured and scaled up by the Serum Institute of India, the R21/Matrix-M vaccine marks a significant advancement in the fight against malaria, a disease that has inflicted suffering for centuries.

Alongside the recommendation for the new malaria vaccine, WHO also provided guidance on vaccines for dengue and meningitis, immunization schedules, and product recommendations for COVID-19. Additionally, WHO issued key programmatic recommendations concerning polio, the Immunization Agenda 2030, and the recovery of immunization programs.

The R21 vaccine is the second malaria vaccine endorsed by WHO, following the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine, which received approval in 2021. Both vaccines have demonstrated safety and efficacy in preventing malaria in children, offering the potential for significant public health benefits.

Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, disproportionately affects children in the African Region, where nearly half a million children succumb to the disease annually.

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