Geneva, 13 October 2016 - Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance today announced funding support for a vaccination campaign to protect Haitians against the growing threat of cholera outbreaks in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
Public health authorities in Haiti are preparing to distribute one million doses of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) as soon as they reach Port-au-Prince. The shipment was approved on Monday by The Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC).
“Our concern is that cholera could cut a deadly swath through Haiti, as it did following the devastating earthquake in 2010,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “There is tremendous need to prevent another disaster adding to the nightmare of Hurricane Matthew by providing vulnerable Haitians with comprehensive disease-control interventions that includes vaccination and access to safe and clean water.”
WHO, together with other technical partners, has deployed teams across Haiti to investigate the scale and nature of several cholera outbreaks that have occurred since Hurricane Matthew struck on 4 October. This assessment will help shape an effective strategy for the emergency vaccination programme.
Provisional data indicates 303 suspected cases of cholera in the worst-hit departments of Grande Anse and South. Public health officials agree that there is a high risk of increased cholera transmission in these regions, and possibly beyond.
The one million doses of cholera vaccine approved by the GTFCC for Haiti’s campaign will be drawn from the Gavi-supported global cholera vaccine stockpile. Since 2013, Haiti has conducted small-scale OCV campaigns on an annual basis, vaccinating approximately 480,000 people through the stockpile.
“The global OCV stockpile is specifically designed for rapid responses to fast-moving crises like the one we’re trying to prevent right now in Haiti,” Dr. Berkley said. “Gavi will continue to work closely with the Government of Haiti and with our global health colleagues to stave off the potential threat of cholera outbreaks and enable the Haitian people to stay healthy and focused on repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.”