Cholera Vaccine Shortages Exasperate Expanding Outbreaks
Since 2021, there has been an increase in cholera cases and their geographical distribution globally, reported the World Health Organization (WHO).
In 2021, 23 countries reported cholera outbreaks, mainly in the WHO Regions of Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.
This trend has continued into 2022, with over 29 countries reporting cholera cases or outbreaks.
As of November 30, 2022, 16 of these have been reporting protracted outbreaks.
Many of those countries reported higher case numbers and case fatality ratio (CFR) of over 1% (2.9% in Africa).
Therefore, the WHO assesses the risk of cholera at the global level as very high.
Additionally, the lack of oral cholera vaccine availability became a worldwide issue in 2022.
The global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) is currently insufficient to meet all requests for two doses of preventive vaccination, says the WHO.
Even the U.S. has limited access to OCVs.
The production of OCV is a continuous process, with around 2.5 million doses produced monthly.
As a result, in October 2022, the International Coordinating Group members and the WHO temporarily decided to limit all reactive OCV campaigns to one single dose.
While using a single dose instead of two doses will protect more people in the short term, this strategy has limitations, and it is unclear how long immunity will last, says the WHO.
As vaccine manufacturers are producing at their maximum current capacity, there is no short-term solution to increase production.
To solve the problem in the long term there needs to be an increase in global vaccine production.
WHO recommends Member States strengthen and maintain surveillance for cholera, especially at the community level.
And the WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions on Member States based on the currently available information.
Other cholera outbreak news is posted at Vax-Before-Travel.com/Cholera.