Cholera Outbreak: Federal Government Seeks Emergency Vaccine

A child taking vaccine
A child taking vaccinegoogle

The federal government has initiated discussions with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) to secure additional supplies of cholera vaccines amid the ongoing outbreak in Nigeria.

Jide Idris, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), confirmed that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, has entered into these negotiations with Gavi.

This comes as Nigeria is grappling with a cholera outbreak that has significantly impacted several states, leading to deaths and overwhelming healthcare facilities.

Mr. Idris noted that cholera vaccines are not currently stocked in public facilities, though they are available in limi,ted quantities in the private sector.

He explained that the global demand for cholera vaccines has surged, leading to severe shortages, which has strained efforts to control outbreaks in endemic regions like Nigeria.

In response to the crisis, the NCDC has intensified its public health campaigns, emphasizing hygiene practices and the importance of clean water. However, Mr. Idris acknowledged that these measures alone are insufficient without adequate vaccination coverage, and the shortage of vaccines has hampered mass immunization campaigns crucial for preventing the spread of cholera.

The NCDC director-general called for stronger international collaboration to ensure that life-saving vaccines promptly reach the most vulnerable populations.

He also noted that the cholera outbreak is characterized by a case fatality rate of 3.5%, significantly higher than the national expected average of 1%, underscoring the severity of the situation.

Since January 2023, 82 million doses of cholera vaccines have been requested from 15 countries, almost double the 46 million doses produced over the same period[3]. The global stockpile was depleted until early March 2024 and currently has 3.2 million doses, far short of the five-dose goal.

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