Ground-breaking malaria vaccination will save children’s lives, says Minister Brophy
Press release07 October 2021
Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora, Colm Brophy T.D., has welcomed the development of the first vaccine for malaria.
Minister Brophy said:
“This ground breaking vaccine will save children’s lives in the most affected countries in the world. It is unacceptable that malaria can be prevented and treated but still causes over 400,000 deaths a year in the world’s poorest countries.
“Ireland, through the Irish Aid programme, is proud to be a funding partner of WHO, Gavi and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, which together supported the development of the vaccine and its successful trials. This is part of Irish Aid’s ongoing investment in global public health, which will exceed €100 million this year. Ireland has a seat on the Board of the Global Fund, which helps us ensure that this vaccine will reach as many children as possible.”
In 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide, with 94% of these occurring in Africa. Malaria is preventable and curable but still caused 409,000 deaths in 2019. Over two thirds of these deaths were in children. The vaccine has been shown to reduce severe cases of malaria, hospitalisations and deaths in children. Yesterday’s WHO recommendation that the RTS,S malaria vaccine be used will enable its widespread roll out where it is most needed.
Particularly important is the WHO’s finding that the vaccine is suitable for children, who are most at risk of dying from malaria. The vaccine will be an important addition to the existing mix of proven malaria interventions, including mosquito nets, accurate and effective diagnosis and treatment of the disease and prevention campaigns.
07 October 2021
Notes for Editors
- The RTS,S malaria vaccine acts against P. falciparum malaria, which is the deadliest malaria parasite globally. The trial found that the vaccine has a strong safety profile and is effective in reducing deadly severe malaria and hospitalisations.
- WHO recommends that in the context of comprehensive malaria control the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine be used for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria in children living in regions with moderate to high transmission as defined by WHO. RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine should be provided in a schedule of 4 doses in children from 5 months of age for the reduction of malaria disease and burden.
- Trials of the vaccine took place over a two year period in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, supported by WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and UNITAID.
- Ireland has been a partner of Gavi since 2002, which supports lower income countries to deliver routine immunisation. As a result, child mortality has halved in Gavi-supported countries and the WHO recommendation of the RTS,S vaccine means that it can now be considered for use by Gavi.
- The Government has allocated at least €100 million in 2021 to global health, which includes the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries.
- Ireland supports life-saving routine immunisation in low income countries through our partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a over 888 million children and prevent more than 15 million deaths in 73 lower-income countries, and has supported the trial of the RTS,S malaria vaccine.
- Ireland was a founding member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria in 2002. Since its creation the Global Fund has prevented more than 44 million deaths worldwide. The Global Fund provides 25% of all international financing for HIV, 77% of funding for TB, and 56% of all international financing for malaria. Ireland is serving a two year term as Board Member at the Global Fund form 2021 – 2023. Irish Aid support to the Global Fund since its foundation has been €250 million.