By Asmau Ahmad
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday it will temporarily suspend the standard of two-dose vaccination regimen for cholera.
The WHO said it would replace it with a single dose due to vaccine shortages and rising outbreaks worldwide.
The United Nations agency said “the exceptional decision reflects the grave state of the cholera vaccine stockpile” at a time when countries like Haiti, Syria, Malawi are fighting large outbreaks of the deadly disease.
According to WHO, the disease spreads through contact with contaminated water and food. As of October 9, Haiti had confirmed 32 cases and 18 deaths from the disease, while many cases were still awaiting confirmation.
A statement from WHO said “the pivot in strategy will allow for the doses to be used in more countries, at a time of unprecedented rise in cholera outbreaks worldwide.”
The WHO’s emergencies director Mike Ryan told reporters in a briefing that the change in strategy was a sign of the “scale of the crisis” caused by a lack of focus on safe sanitation and immunization for all at risk.