Press Release: Rotavirus vaccine cuts infant diarrhea deaths by a third in Malawi
A major new study has shown that rotavirus vaccination reduced infant diarrhea deaths by one-third in rural Malawi, a region with high levels of child deaths.
The study led by scientists at the University of Liverpool, UCL, the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and partners in Malawi provides the first population-level evidence from a low-income country that rotavirus vaccination saves lives.
The findings, published in The Lancet Global Health, add considerable weight to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation for rotavirus vaccine to be included in all national immunization programmes.
Co-lead author Dr. Naor Bar-Zeev, Associate Professor in the Department of International Health at the International Vaccine Access Center, said: “We already knew that rotavirus vaccine reduces hospital admissions and is highly cost-effective in low-income countries with a high burden of diarrhoeal disease, and now we’ve been able to demonstrate that it saves lives.
“However not all countries are vaccinating against rotavirus yet, including some very populous countries. The key message of this paper is that to do the best by all our children and to help them survive, all countries should introduce rotavirus vaccination.”
Photo of Malawian children by Dr. Carina King, one of the study’s lead authors.