On October 6, 2021, World Health Organization (WHO) announced the endorsement of the first malaria vaccine for children. In response to the announcement, First Focus on Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:

“We celebrate the historic announcement of a malaria vaccine for young children. The malaria vaccine has the potential to save thousands of children’s lives every year and allow them opportunities to reach their full potential. The malaria vaccine illustrates how funding decisions and collaboration can benefit children and youth around the globe.”

This week, I had the honor to speak with malaria and global child health expert, Miriam K. Laufer, MD about the new malaria vaccine. Our wide-ranging conversation included:  why the malaria vaccine is a breakthrough in public health, how the vaccine will reduce inequities in malaria prevention, who will benefit from the vaccine, and why further research is needed for school-age children impacted by malaria. Interestingly, Dr. Laufer also thoroughly explained why it seemed to take so much longer to develop a malaria vaccine compared to the COVID-19 vaccines.

We agree with Dr. Laufer — the malaria vaccine helps protect children and gives them a chance for a better future—and all children are our future.

For more information on Dr. Laufer’s work and research: https://www.medschool.umaryland.edu/malaria/