WHO published an updated position paper on the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine that includes the October 2021 recommendation calling for the wider use of the vaccine among children living in areas of moderate-to-high P. falciparum malaria transmission. The paper complements the recent addition of the recommendation to the WHO Guidelines for malaria
"The first malaria vaccine is a major step forward for malaria control, child health and health equity. If implemented broadly, the vaccine could save tens of thousands of lives each year," said Dr Kate O'Brien, director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. "This guidance is essential to countries as they consider whether and how to adopt the vaccine as an additional tool to reduce child illness and deaths from malaria," she added.
The paper, published in WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Record, summarizes essential background information on the global malaria context and disease patterns. It presents available RTS,S evidence; addresses the role of RTS,S among other preventive measures; and outlines recommendations for broader deployment of the vaccine.
In addition, the paper identifies research priorities for the vaccine and considerations for immunization and health systems. It briefly describes the development of a framework to guide the allocation of the initial limited doses of malaria vaccine; supplies of RTS,S are expected to be limited in the short to medium term.