Scientists hope a new vaccine will reduce malaria in Africa. But is it worth the cost?

National Geographic

Lena Mucha

The first-ever malaria vaccine is 35 years and billions of dollars in the making. It’s less than 40% effective.

Hundreds of thousands of children across malaria-stricken regions of Kenya, Malawi, and Ghana are receiving the world’s first ever malaria vaccine, which Western health experts laud as an exciting new tool in the global fight against the disease. But after 35 years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in development, some African health professionals are wondering: Is the vaccine worth the cost?

One study estimated that on average, the vaccine will be nearly three times as expensive as distributing bed nets to achieve the same improvements in health. With limited funding available, some in Kenya worry that the money is being misspent. “The nets—that’s our need, for now.”

Read: National Geographic / Español