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Haiti launching cholera vaccination campaignh

A photo of Euvichol
A photo of Euvichol, the oral vaccine that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) donated to Haiti on Dec. 12 that will be used in the country’s upcoming inoculation campaign. Photo via Pan American Health Organization site


PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haiti is launching a cholera vaccination campaign starting Dec. 18 to immunize millions of residents most vulnerable around the capital and central regions of the country, officials said.

“The arrival of oral vaccines in Haiti is a step in the right direction,” Lauré Adrien of the Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) said in a statement released to the public. “We are integrating this tool into our national strategy, which includes surveillance, water and sanitation interventions, social mobilization and treatment.”

People living in the Port-au-Prince neighborhoods of Cité Soleil, Delmas, Tabarre, Carrefour and the Center department city Mirebalais — areas with the majority of reported cholera cases— will receive the vaccine first, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said. The international organization gave Haiti 1.17 million doses of an oral vaccine, Euvichol, to carry out the mass vaccination effort. 

“We hope that this first shipment will be followed by others so that the vaccine is available to all at-risk populations in Haiti,” Adrien said.


Officials did not provide an end date for the campaign. 

But they said, in the coming weeks, Haiti will receive an additional vaccine batch of about 500,000 doses. 

“PAHO has been supporting Haiti since the resurgence of cholera and will continue to work with national authorities to rapidly distribute vaccines, monitor cases, and provide lifesaving assistance,” the organization said in a statement.

“We are integrating this tool [oral vacvines] into our national strategy, which includes surveillance, water and sanitation interventions, social mobilization and treatment.”LAURÉ ADRIEN OF THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND POPULATION (MSPP)

Cholera resurfaced in Haiti in October, with the first cases identified in Carrefour-Feuilles and Cité Soleil, particularly in the Brooklyn district, Adrien has said. The diarrheal illness, caused by food or water contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacteria, struck Haiti in 2010 for 10 months, killing at least 10,000 people and infecting hundreds of thousands more, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 


Haiti then held vaccination campaigns to help reduce the spread of the virus. The disease resurfaced three years after Haiti saw the last outbreak in February 2019

The latest outbreak is occurring at a time when the country is facing a multifaceted crisis, from the scarcity of fuel to the country being locked down for months, and the unavailability of potable and safe water in metropolitan districts. 

According to UNICEF, Haiti’s social-economic situation has contributed to the increase in confirmed cases and deaths from cholera, particularly among children and women.

The Ministry of Health’s latest report on cholera throughout the country and its regions published on Dec. 14, recorded 1,290 cases with more than 304 deaths, 15,129 suspected cases and 13,030 people hospitalized.

“Oral vaccines are an additional weapon in our fight against cholera and can help slow transmission,” said Dr. Maureen Birmingham for her part. She is a PAHO/WHO representative in Haiti.


“Haiti has a long history of managing cholera, but the fragile political and security situation has slowed response efforts, so this is very good news,” PAHO director Carissa Étienne said.

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