What is the right time to take the Malaria Vaccine?

Malaria is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is most common in 3rd world countries such as Africa and India, killing hundreds of thousands of children and an alarming amount of adults each year. Malaria killed at least four times as many more people in Africa last year as Covid did.

Antimalarial medication has been an effective way of preventing malaria but it’s not practical or affordable for those who actually live in areas with high malaria transmission rates. Anti-malaria medications are better suited for travellers who are just passing through areas where there’s a chance of getting Malaria.

Scientists have been trying to develop a vaccine for malaria that could significantly reduce the deaths caused by Malaria for years. The UK is the first to have developed a Malaria Vaccine (RTS,S) that has been approved by The World Health Organization (WHO).  WHO is recommending widespread use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high malaria transmission.

There is currently no malaria vaccine in UK simply because it is not needed. The UK does not have an endemic malaria problem. After this malaria vaccine is used to get control of the disease and reduce death rates in Africa, for example, it is possible that a malaria vaccine for travel purposes may come onto the market in the UK and other parts of the world.

If you are planning a trip to a high-risk area for malaria, there are some Anti-Malarial medications that are proven to be very effective in preventing Malaria. It’s important to research which one is best for the area you are visiting and which is most convenient for you to use. Many anti-malarial medications can have some strong side effects, so make sure you pick one that will not affect you adversely while traveling.

These include:

  • Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone)
  • Chloroquine.
  • Doxycycline.
  • Mefloquine.
  • Primaquine.
  • Tafenoquine (ArakodaTM)

No antimalarial drug is 100% protective and must be combined with the use of personal protective measures, (i.e., insect repellent, long sleeves, long pants, sleeping in a mosquito-free setting, or using an insecticide-treated bed net).

Additional information about Malaria prevention can be found from Miles Pharmacy online or directly with our clinicians who can help you decide what anti-malaria medication is best for you. While you cannot get the Malaria vaccine at our Epsom location, we do have a wide range of anti-malaria medications for you to choose from.