The GiveWell Blog

Why GiveWell funded the rollout of the malaria vaccine

Since our founding in 2007, GiveWell has directed over $600 million to programs that aim to prevent malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that causes severe illness and death. Malaria is preventable and curable, yet it killed over 600,000 people in 2021—mostly young children in Africa.

Following the World Health Organization’s approval of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine (RTS,S) in late 2021, GiveWell directed $5 million to PATH to accelerate the roll out of the vaccine in certain areas of Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. This grant aimed to enable these communities to gain access to the vaccine about a year earlier than they otherwise would, protecting hundreds of thousands of children from malaria.

Although we’re very excited about the potential of the RTS,S malaria vaccine to save lives, it isn’t a panacea. We still plan to support a range of malaria control interventions, including vaccines, nets, and antimalarial medicine.

In this post, we will:

  • Explain how we found the opportunity to fund the malaria vaccine
  • Discuss why we funded this grant
  • Share our plan for malaria funding moving forward

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Initial thoughts on malaria vaccine approval

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended the widespread use of the malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 for children. It provides an additional, effective tool to fight malaria. This is great news!

We’ve been following this vaccine’s development for years and, in the last few months, have been speaking with organizations involved in its development and potential wider rollout.

Our work on RTS,S (and other malaria vaccines) is ongoing, and we might significantly update our views in the near future. But because we’ve been following its progress, we’re sharing some initial thoughts.

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Some thoughts on the yellow fever vaccine

There’s news today that the Yellow Fever Initiative is facing a budget shortfall and may be unable to purchase needed vaccines in the near future (h/t Christine Gorman): Emergency supplies of yellow fever vaccines are set to run out next year, and there is no funding to continue immunisation campaigns after that, World Health Organisation…

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