The two African nations have given provisional approval to a malaria vaccine, but rollout dates are still unclear at this time.
After only a week, Nigeria followed Ghana in giving provisional approval to Oxford University’s new R21 Malaria vaccine. Ghana had become the first country to do so.
The disease of malaria has afflicted both countries, in particular Nigeria. Ghana’s approval was the first in the world and will be aimed at being provided to young children.
The vaccine was developed by scientists at the Jennifer Institute at Oxford University, one of the world’s most prestigious educational centres.
The R21/Matrix-M vaccine – what the vaccine will do
The Guardian reported in 2021 how the Oxford vaccine proved to be highly effective during its trial in Burkina Faso. Over a 12-month period, it showed an efficacy rate of 77%.
This vaccine is the first to meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) goal of 75% efficacy against the mosquito-borne disease. The Burkina Faso rate of 77% came after it was administered in three doses.
Oxford University has a deal with the Serum Institute of India to produce up to 200 million doses of the R21 vaccine annually.
Malaria in Africa and around the world – afflicting the continent and beyond
The heaviest concentration of cases are found in Africa. In 2021, 95% of malaria cases and 96% of deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. 80% of deaths in Africa are of children under age five.
Nigeria is one of the world’s most populous nations and is also the world’s most affected country when it comes to malaria. The country accounts for a total of 27% of global cases and a staggering 32% of global deaths.
More than 600,000 people a year are killed by malaria, with the figure standing at 619,000 in 2021, with 247 million cases detected. Of these deaths, 77% were children under the age of five years old.
The R21 malaria vaccine is indicated for the prevention of clinical malaria in children from five months to 36 months of age.
When will the vaccine roll out in Ghana and Nigeria? – provisional approval for now
Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said, “A provisional approval of the R21 Malaria Vaccine was recommended and this shall be done in line with the WHO’s Malaria Vaccine Implementation Guideline”.
NAFDAC’s director-general, Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, also stated, “While granting the approval, the Agency has also communicated the need for expansion of the clinical trial conducted to include a phase 4 clinical trial/Pharmacovigilance study to be carried out in Nigeria”.
Regulatory bodies, such as the WHO, are still considering the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, so an exact date for rollout is not yet clear.