• Four doses required at six months, seven months, nine months and 24 months.
• Found to be effective and safe.
The Ministry of Health will launch a four-dose malaria vaccine pilot programme in Homa Bay on Friday.
Homa Bay director of Health Gordon Okomo said on Thursday that the vaccine will be piloted in three subcounties — Ndhiwa, Homa Bay Town and Kabondo Kasipul.
The pilot programme will also be undertaken in counties on Lake Victoria, including Kakamega, Migori, Busia and Kisumu. Malaria prevalence is especially high in the lake region. Dates of those roll-outs were not immediately known.
The vaccine will be administered to children in four doses at six months, seven months, nine months and 24 months. Adherence could be a problem for families far from health centres.
The vaccine has been on trial for several years after it was developed more than 20 years ago.
Kenya, Malawi and Ghana were selected by the World Health Organization to pilot the vaccine.
An efficiency and safety trial was conducted from 2009 to 2014 in seven countries including Kenya, which approved it.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki will preside over the launch.
“Malaria is a top killer disease among children below the age of five in our county. the vaccine s a good step in fighting it," Okomo said.
He urged all families to get their children vaccinated.
Prevalence will decline if vaccine is used in conjunction with other methods, including insecticide-treated nets, spraying and removal of standing water where mosquitoes breed.
(Edited by V. Graham)