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WHO: Liberia, Benin, Sierra Leone roll out malaria vaccine

Health & Science
 When World Health Organisation’s Ruddi Eggers immunised a baby in Kenya's Ndhiwa town during the launch of Malaria vaccine. [James Omoro, Standard]

Liberia, Benin, and Sierra Leone have rolled out a malaria vaccine, targeting millions of children across the three West African nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

The vaccine rollout, announced on World Malaria Day, celebrated annually on April 25, would help to scale up vaccine deployment in the African region, the WHO said in a statement obtained by  Xinhua Friday in Monrovia, the Liberian capital.

"Today's launch brings to eight the number of countries on the continent to offer the malaria vaccine as part of the childhood immunization programs, extending access to more comprehensive malaria prevention," the statement said.

Several of the more than 30 countries in the African region that have expressed interest in the vaccine are scheduled to roll it out in 2025, the WHO said.

In a separate statement, Liberia's Minister of Health Louise Kpoto said that for far too long, malaria has stolen the laughter and dreams of the country's children.

"But today, with this vaccine and the unwavering commitment of our communities, healthcare workers, and partners, including GAVI, UNICEF, and WHO, we break the chain," the minister said.

"We have a powerful tool that will protect them from this devastating illness and related deaths, ensuring their right to health and a brighter future," Kpoto said.

The vaccine was launched in Liberia's southern Rivercess County and would be rolled out later in five other counties with high malaria burdens.

At least 45,000 children across 39 districts are expected to benefit from the 112,000 doses of the available vaccine. Liberia has so far received 88,780 vials of the allotted doses. 

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