Cholera: More than 35 million cholera vaccine doses were missing in 2023

Cholera: More than 35 million cholera vaccine doses were missing in 2023

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The number of cholera cases worldwide has increased so rapidly that there is a severe shortage vaccines threatens. Countries requested twice as many vaccine doses last year as were produced, reported the ICG coordination group, which monitors and distributes global vaccine supplies. Measures are urgently needed to prevent further outbreaks and ramp up vaccine production.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the South Korean company EuBiologics is the only one currently producing a vaccine against cholera manufactures. “Immediate action must be taken to curb the unprecedented increase in global cholera cases in several years,” said the ICG. The large discrepancy between the number of available vaccine doses and current needs is putting global supplies under unprecedented pressure, it said.

Last year, according to the WHO 36 million doses were produced, but at least 72 million were in demand. More vaccine doses were requested between 2021 and 2023 than in the entire previous decade combined. The WHO is part of the coordination group, as are the UN children’s fund Unicef, the aid organization Doctors Without Borders and the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Number of cholera cases is increasing

Cholera cases have been increasing since 2021. In 2022 there were more than twice as many cases as in the previous year, a total of 473,000, reports the WHO. Preliminary data for 2023 suggested there were more than 700,000 cases. Acute intestinal infection is transmitted through food and water contaminated with feces containing the Vibrio cholerae bacterium.

To outbreaks It happens when the hygiene conditions are poor. This often happens after natural disasters or in conflict regions when many people are driven from their homes. The Democratic Republic is the hardest hit Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somaliathe Sudan, Syria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In view of the high demand for vaccines, the coordination group had already issued the recommendation in October 2022 to use only one dose of vaccine instead of the usual two doses up until then. This protects more people, but doesn’t last as long. The group is therefore pushing for more investment in wastewater systems and the supply of clean drinking water. On the other hand, new vaccines must be approved as quickly as possible and brought onto the market in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices.

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