New Malaria Vaccine Can Save Thousands of Lives!

A nurse gives a young child in Africa a malaria shot.

For the first time ever, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved a vaccine against malaria. The vaccine doesn’t prevent all cases of malaria. But it could save the lives of tens of thousands of young children in Africa every year.

Malaria is a deadly disease caused by mosquitos. It kills around 435,000 people every year. Most of the people who die of malaria live in Africa. Children are more likely to die of malaria than adults. Before the vaccine, the main way to not get malaria was to stay away from mosquitos. But many people in Africa live in homes without windows. Mosquitos can get inside.

It’s hard to create a vaccine against a disease that is caused by an insect. The new malaria vaccine is the first vaccine to do that. It will prevent only around 30% of all cases of malaria. But that will still save many lives. If someone gets malaria, the vaccine and other treatments can help them.

There are still more steps needed to make sure people all over Africa can access the vaccine. But having the World Health Organization approve the vaccine is a great first step in saving many lives!

What Do You Think? Why is the malaria vaccine so important to children in Africa? If you could create a vaccine to fight a disease, what vaccine would you want to create—and why?

Photo Credit: James Keyi/REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo