The Lack of Cholera Vaccines is Expected to Continue Until 2025
As cholera outbreaks increase around the world, there is likely to be a shortage of vaccines until 2025, a global vaccine group said on Monday. This comes just days after the World Health Organization warned that it would be hard to control the disease in the short term.
Last year, there were more people who got cholera and more people who died from it. This is because the disease spread to new areas, especially places where there was a lot of violence and poverty.
In reaction, the World Health Organization and its partners switched for a short time from giving two doses of a vaccine to giving just one dose. Still, they ran out in December.
In a study, the Gavi alliance, an international group that works on immunizations for children, said that there were enough doses to meet emergency needs but not for preventive use.
Cholera is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. It usually causes only mild symptoms or none at all, but in severe cases, it can cause severe diarrhea and kill within hours if not handled. To stop the disease, people need to have access to clean water and hygiene, as well as vaccinations and quick care.
As the number of cases has gone up, it has been hard for global health organizations to find a good balance between preventative vaccination programs and responding to urgent outbreaks.
Gavi said that 48 million doses of vaccines had been used in the last two years, which is 10 million more than had been used in the whole previous decade.
It said that the supply should get better by 2026 as existing manufacturers ramp up and a new company joins the market. It also called for better planning to make sure that vaccines are used where they are most needed, such as in prevention campaigns.
At a meeting on Friday, the WHO said that so far this year, 24 countries have reported outbreaks, up from 15 last year. The U.N. office also said that there are more deaths than expected.
“It doesn’t look good. We can’t give out enough vaccines,” said Henry Gray, WHO’s incident manager for the global cholera response. He said that in 2023, only 8 million of the 18 million doses asked had been made available.