Malaria vaccine is safe; we have to support it-FDA

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says the new vaccine being introduced should be embraced by all because of the benefits it will bring to children.

Madam Adler Ashley, who is at the Monitoring Department at the FDA told Kwabena Agyapong that the malaria vaccine went through rigorous research processes for a period of 30 years and proven to be effective.

She said the current vaccine is not only effective but a better option for the fight against malaria in children.

As part of the strategies to help control malaria, a vaccine has been introduced.

This vaccine will be used alongside existing effective anti- malaria interventions such as insecticide- treated nets, indoor residual spraying and seasonal malaria chemoprevention.

The Malaria Vaccine implementation in Ghana will start in selected districts in four regions (Central, Volta, Brong Ahafo, and Upper East Regions).

The vaccine is an injectable vaccine that has been added to existing malaria preventive measures for children. This is the first time a malaria vaccine is being provided to children in routine immunization.

The vaccine is expected to the chances that the child will get severe malaria

The malaria vaccine is given in four (4) doses at age 6 months, 7 months, 9 months and 24 months.

The malaria vaccine is given as an injection on the child’s left thigh by a trained health worker.

A child must receive all 4 doses to get the most protection.

Some viral videos and audio messages circulated on social media by some persons called on the public to reject the vaccines.

In the materials, they claimed that the vaccines were capable of making people impotent and was an agenda from the West to harm Africans especially Ghanaians.
But the FDA says the claims by these campaigners are unfounded, baseless and without any proof.

The necessary clinical trials Adler said had been completed and we are not going to have a clinical trial, we have already done the clinical trial, she said.

She added ”The malaria vaccine has been rigorously tested for safety and efficacy in thousands of children in Africa, including Ghana.”

Ghana is one of three African countries selected for the vaccine test by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is seeking to introduce the vaccine globally. Kenya and Malawi are the other two countries.

The first batch of the vaccines, constituting 400,000 doses, has been delivered to Ghana by the WHO for the start of the three-year pilot.

The vaccine acts against plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite in the world and the most prevalent in Africa.

They will be administered through the routine national immunisation programme for free in 33 districts in the Central, Oti, Volta, Bono, Ahafo and Bono East regions.

Mosquirix was developed for use in Africa and for African children. Additional studies will be needed before the vaccine can be recommended for use outside Africa.

In December 2015, the WHO put out a call for interested countries in Africa to apply to participate in the MVIP. Ghana responded to this call for expressions of interest. Ghana’s application was based on the country’s malaria burden as well as this country’s experience with Mosquirix during the clinical trials.

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