Updated malaria vaccine recommendations from WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a new vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, for the prevention of malaria in children. This recommendation aims to address the high burden of malaria in the WHO African Region, where nearly half a million children die from the disease annually. The vaccine is shown to be highly effective, cost-effective, and safe. It is expected to complement the existing malaria vaccine, RTS,S, which received WHO recommendation in 2021. The WHO has also made several additional recommendations regarding vaccines and immunization programs. For dengue, WHO has recommended the introduction of a live-attenuated quadrivalent dengue vaccine developed by Takeda (TAK-003). This vaccine has demonstrated efficacy against all four serotypes of the dengue virus and is recommended for children aged 6 to 16 years, especially in settings with a high dengue disease burden and transmission intensity. For meningitis, they have recommended the introduction of a novel pentavalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Men5CV) targeting serogroups A, C, Y, W, and X. It is recommended for routine immunization in countries in the African meningitis belt, and high-risk countries are advised to conduct catch-up campaigns for individuals aged 1 to 19 years.
The WHO has discussed progress toward the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030) goals, noting that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had stalled progress in some areas. Low coverage of measles-containing vaccines has increased the risk of outbreaks. The WHO has developed a shared action agenda for 2023-2024 to address these challenges, focusing on catch-up and strengthening immunization programs, equity promotion, measles control, investment in immunization, introducing recommended vaccines, and advancing adolescent vaccination.