NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya is adequately prepared to roll out
a new malaria vaccine starting next year to help contain
a tropical disease that is a leading killer of pregnant
mothers and children under five years, the UN health
agency said on Wednesday.
for the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program (MVIP) in
Kenya is on track with rollout of the vaccine scheduled
to begin in 2018,” the World Health Organization (WHO)
said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
and Malawi were selected for the pilot phase of the
malaria vaccine implementation by WHO thanks to
investments in modern infrastructure and personnel to
facilitate its deployment.
The RTS, S
malaria vaccine has already undergone vigorous testing
to ascertain its safety and efficacy when administered
on young African children who are vulnerable to the
the WHO, an estimated 10,000 children from seven
countries in sub-Saharan Africa have received the
vaccine during Phase-Three clinical trials carried out
in 2009 -2014.
was considered to have an acceptable safety profile by a
stringent medicines regulatory authority and will not be
given to children in Kenya unless the pharmacy and
poisons board approves its use,” the WHO said.
the WHO representative in Kenya, said the new malaria
vaccine is not only safe and efficacious but has the
capacity to contain a disease that remains a major
public health challenge in the East African nation.
“As with any
new vaccine or drug, parents and families may have
questions about vaccine safety. Global safety experts
have made clear that when four doses of this vaccine are
provided, its benefits outweighs the risks,” Eggers
that WHO will collaborate with Kenya’s ministry of
health and independent experts to monitor the safety of
the new malaria vaccine and respond promptly to emerging
ministry of health will implement the malaria vaccine
program in partnership with WHO and global health
It will be
administered to children in health facilities through a
four-dose schedule at ages 6, 7, 9 and 24 months.
vaccine will complement existing interventions to
contain the disease that includes use of
insecticide-treated nets, artemisinin combination
therapy (ACT) and indoor spraying.
of National Vaccine Immunization Program, Collins Tabu,
hailed the rollout of the RTS, S malaria vaccine, saying
there is adequate scientific evidence to prove it will
be a game changer in the war against the tropical
“We have the
local data that proves this vaccine can significantly
lower the risk of deadly malaria in young children, and
now we have to see how best to provide it routinely to
realize its potential,” Tabu said.
Kenya is grappling with a new malaria outbreak that has
claimed close to 30 people in the northern semi-arid
counties of Baringo and Marsabit.
The head of Kenya National Malaria Control Program, Waqo
Erjesa, said the government has supplied drugs, mosquito
nets and diagnostic kits to regions affected by the new