Policy makers are yet to decide on the rollout strategy for the now World Health Organisation-approved RTS,S Malaria Vaccine in the country, Dr. Jimmy Opigo, the head of the Malaria Control Program told ChimpReports on Thursday.
The vaccine has been administered to more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi since the pilot program began in 2019.
Dr. Opigo said the rollout program in Uganda will be based on various factors which have to be decided upon by stakeholders and policy makers.
“It’s great news, something that we were looking forward to. Currently, the world is rethinking malaria and one of the things we have been looking at is how to accelerate deployment of preventive tools,” he said.
He noted that the phase 4 study was aimed at determining how the vaccine rollout can fit in routine immunization.
“So the idea is not to roll it (malaria vaccine) the way COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out; COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled in a campaign mode to end the pandemic.”
Dr. Opigo said proposals have been made to the policymakers to make decisions on whether the vaccines should be publicly funded or imported by the private sector and whether they should be rolled out to all eligible persons at once or prioritize areas with high malaria burden.
“When these are answered, we will look at the outlook of the global production. Right now, the capacity to produce vaccines in the world is maxed out, the COVID-19 vaccine production has taken all the existing production lines and you cannot create a production line in time. There are a lot of processes,” he said.
Adding: “The next thing we are considering is how to leverage potential global funding. So we are waiting for commitments and a framework; whether it will be fully funded or co-funded.”
On September 1st, 2021, President Museveni, in a global meeting, pledged commitment to increase efforts towards the fight against Malaria, in absence of a vaccine.
“It is true we have been a bit leisurely in our handling of malaria. We have lived with it for centuries and it is not as scary as Corona and Ebola although the costs of treating malaria are high. We have been diverted with a lot of things including minimum recovery and development. Suppose we eliminate malaria, how much can we save? Can we develop a vaccine? I am ready to launch a full war against mosquitoes and malaria,” he said.