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Global Supply Of Oral Cholera Vaccines To Double– WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that the supply of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) was to be doubled, to address global shortages and expand access in more countries.
A statement by the organisation issued in Lagos stated that the production of OCV was low globally with demands currently exceeding supply.
WHO said that addressing the shortage would now be possible as approval had been granted to a third producer, a South Korean company, for the vaccine.
The vaccine producer is the latest OCV manufacturer to be approved under the WHO’s pre-qualification programme.
The programme ensured that drugs and vaccines bought by countries and international procurement agencies such as UNICEF met acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy.
Climate change and El Niño may also be contributing to more frequent cholera outbreaks.
The world body said that the inclusion of an additional pre-qualified vaccine producer was expected to double global supply to six million doses for 2016.
WHO said that the OCV had been used in mass vaccination campaigns in response to humanitarian emergencies since 1997.
“However, because the disease disproportionately affects poor communities who are often unaware that the vaccines exist, there has historically been little demand for the products.
“ Vaccination for cholera requires two doses per person, meaning the stockpile is sufficient to cover one million people.
“Access to OCV has been further improved by a commitment of US$115 million over five years from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“This is to expand availability and the use of vaccine in countries with endemic cholera.’’
The world body described cholera as an acute diarrhoeal disease that could kill within hours if left untreated.
“There are between 1.4 million and 4.3 million cases a year and as many as 142 000 deaths.
“Cholera is endemic in more than 50 countries but usually only garners international attention during humanitarian emergencies,’’ the statement said. (NAN)

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