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News Release

The Church of Jesus Christ Assists with New Malaria Vaccinations in Africa

Nearly 40,000 children will receive the vaccine

At the Global Vaccine Impact Conference in Spain on June 15, 2023, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced a contribution of US$3 million from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support a historic malaria immunization campaign in Africa.

The Church’s donation will strengthen the coordinated efforts of Gavi, UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and others to procure and distribute the new RTS,S malaria vaccine. Thanks to the Church’s help, an estimated 39,500 African children will receive the four doses required for immunity against malaria as a direct result of this donation. This is part of a large, multiyear campaign to vaccinate 4.5 million children through 2025.

“Malaria remains one of Africa’s deadliest diseases, killing thousands of young children every single year,” said Guillaume Grosso, Gavi’s director of Sovereign and Private Sector Engagement, Donor Relations and Campaigns. “Thanks to vital funding from donors like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can help protect more children at risk as the vaccine rolls out.”

According to Gavi, an estimated 475,000 children under the age of five died of malaria in Africa in 2021, making it the biggest killer of children on the continent — but until recently no vaccine has been available. A malaria vaccine has been in development for over 18 years. The RTS,S vaccine was endorsed by the WHO for broad use in October 2021 after a successful pilot in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, where some 1 million children received the vaccine. This is the first vaccine against malaria approved by the WHO, with others currently in development.

“This highly-needed new RTS,S malaria vaccine will help protect thousands of young children from this deadly disease,” said Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of the Church. “We are grateful to be a part of this historic initiative.”

RTS,S acts against Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite globally and the most prevalent in Africa. RTS,S is the first vaccine recommended to prevent malaria in children in areas of moderate to high malaria transmission.

Ghana Minister of Health and Latter-day Saint Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said this malaria vaccine can end years of suffering in the country from this “terrible disease.”

“In communities across my country, people are excited and demand is high,” he said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, since 2011. The Church gives monetary support to prominent global immunization collaborators to procure and deliver vaccinations, monitor diseases, respond to outbreaks, train health care workers and develop elimination and eradication programs. These efforts result in more immunized children and fewer lives lost to malaria, measles, rubella, maternal and neonatal tetanus, polio, diarrhea, pneumonia, yellow fever and other diseases.

“Immunization programs are an investment in human capital,” said Sierra Leone Minister of Health Austin Demby. “They improve public health, life expectancy and work performance. They are a down payment for future economic prosperity.”

“This long-awaited effort to immunize children against malaria will truly save lives,” said Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson. “It is a beautiful way in which we can help to provide relief, as the Savior would.”

Humanitarian Efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ

Through its humanitarian efforts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relieves suffering, fosters self-reliance and provides opportunities for service. The Church follows the admonition of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and afflicted.

The Church’s humanitarian outreach is made possible by the generous donations and volunteerism of Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith. More than 6 million hours of labor are contributed each year by volunteers in support of welfare initiatives.

The Church sponsors relief and development projects in more than 190 countries and territories and gives assistance without regard to race, religious affiliation or nationality. Aid is based on the core principles of personal responsibility, community support, self-reliance and sustainability.

The malaria vaccination project is funded in part by LDS Charities Australia.

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi is an international organization created to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. Gavi has helped vaccinate nearly 1 billion children since 2000, preventing more than 16 million future deaths.

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