NEW YORK/COPENHAGEN, 12 October – UNICEF today announced an agreement to secure supply of the world’s second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M. The deal is a major milestone towards meeting the high demand for doses of new vaccines against malaria – a disease which still kills one child under five every minute.
The long-term agreement signed with Serum Life Sciences for 2024 – 2028 is conditional on vaccine pre-qualification from the World Health Organization.
“It is heartbreaking and unacceptable that almost half a million children die of malaria every year. This agreement is a critical step towards protecting more children from this deadly disease,” said Director of UNICEF Supply Division Leila Pakkala.
Under the four-year agreement, UNICEF expects to begin delivering the R21/Matrix-M vaccine in mid-2024, with immunizations beginning in the same period. This builds on UNICEF’s work to expand access to malaria vaccines, and complements the landmark first malaria vaccine RTS,S. Deliveries of RTS,S are anticipated to start in late 2023.
The R21/Matrix-M and RTS,S malaria vaccines are the result of 35 years of research and development. They are the first vaccines developed against a parasitic disease. Both act against Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite globally and the most prevalent in Africa. The vaccines are a critical addition to the toolbox of measures in the fight against malaria.
UNICEF is the world’s largest single vaccine buyer, procuring more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine child immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. This procurement of the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine will help boost global supply and accelerate equitable malaria vaccine access for children and families.
For further information, please contact:
Ranjit Kang, Media and Communications Manager (News and Emergencies), 0207 375 6030, RanjitK@unicef.org.uk
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters.
United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Registered Charity No. 1072612 (England & Wales), SC043677 (Scotland).