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Burkina Faso becomes 2nd African country to include malaria vaccine in immunization program

Burkina Faso becomes 2nd African country to include malaria vaccine in immunization program
For illustration purposes: Health officials prepare to administer the world's first vaccine against malaria in a pilot program in Tomali, Dec. 11, 2019.   -  
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Jerome Delay/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.

Burkina Faso

On February 5th, Burkina Faso became the second country in the African Region to integrate the malaria vaccine into its routine immunization schedule.

The country has officially introduced the RTS,S malaria vaccine into its expanded vaccination programme across 27 health districts.

The World Health Organization endorsed the vaccine two years ago, acknowledging that that even though it is imperfect, its use would still dramatically reduce severe infections and hospitalizations.

So far no malaria vaccine stop transmission, so other tools like bed nets and insecticidal spraying will still be critical. The malaria parasite mostly spreads to people via infected mosquitoes and can cause symptoms including fever, headaches and chills.

Burkina Faso is one of worst-hit places in the world. In 2021, almost 12.5 million cases of the disease were recorded across the country, equating to an incidence rate of 569 cases per 1,000 population.

Officially, 4,355 people were reported to have died of the parasitic infection, although World Health Organization estimates for the actual death toll that year stand as high as 18,976.

Cameroon started the world's first malaria vaccine program for children on January 22nd.

According to the Gavi vaccine alliance, the initial phase of the vaccine roll-out in Burkina Faso aims to reach nearly 250,000 children aged 5–23 months, across 27 health districts out of the total 70.

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