Children under five years will this month start receiving malaria vaccine in Mangochi under the pilot Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP) by the district health office and College of Medicine.
Mangochi Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) coordinator Francis Mwanoka said this on Friday when he presented the programme to the district executive committee (DEC).
He described the vaccine as a promising intervention to prevent malaria among under-five children.
The vaccine will be administered to children at the age of five, six and seven.
Mwanoka said the malaria vaccine underwent trials in the past and it was found to have a protective effect.
He said: “The vaccine was found to have a protective effect in a large phase 3 clinical trial conducted between 2009 and 2014 in seven sub-Saharan countries, including Malawi.
“Children who received four doses of the vaccine had a significantly lower risk of developing clinical malaria as well as severe malaria.”
The coordinator further said the programme has been designed to assess the operational feasibility of administering the four vaccine doses in children.
He said the MVIP would be continuous up to three years where evaluation will be made and possibly roll out to other districts.
The programme will involve 70 health experts, a development that will help reduce the challenge of inadequate health workers in the hospitals.
Mangochi District Council has since welcomed the programme, saying it will help fight malaria in the lakeshore district which has a high prevalence rate. n