USA—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical humanitarian organization, is deeply concerned by a recent announcement that the global cholera vaccine stockpile has run out.

 This is due to a lack of manufacturing capacity for additional cholera vaccinations, according to MSF. It is vital that established producers ramp up vaccine production and that emerging manufacturers’ efforts be supported.

In October 2022, the International Coordinating Group (ICG), of which MSF is a part, made an unusual decision to temporarily limit the number of cholera doses administered to people from two to one to stretch out supplies.

Nearly 18 months later, the vaccination access issue has worsened. No new manufacturers are entering the supply chain, and demand for dosages is increasing, leaving inventories depleted until at least mid-March.

As a large number of countries report outbreaks, MSF believes that more manufacturers, both existing and new, must urgently help improve global supplies.

According to Dr. Daniela Garone, MSF’s international medical coordinator, the world’s oral cholera vaccine stockpiles have run out, which is a worrying situation given that 16 countries are reporting cholera outbreaks.

She went on to note that this directly affects MSF staff, who are attempting to respond to an unprecedented number of cholera outbreaks, notably in Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Dr. Garone further stated that several countries have requested or would urgently require vaccines, and that all doses in production until mid-March have already been assigned, with demand for doses increasing.

She went on to explain that MSF is still desperate for more manufacturers to step in and urgently make oral cholera vaccines and that more technical support for new manufacturers is required to speed up regulatory processes and increase manufacturing capacity.

She emphasized that the lack of immunizations meant that individuals and communities as a whole would remain vulnerable to cholera.

She is concerned that if there is no vaccine available to respond to an outbreak in their community or to prevent one from occurring in the first place, individuals will be much more likely to contract and maybe die from a preventable disease.

Climate-related factors such as floods and droughts, conflict, and forced displacement, as well as limited access to clean water in refugee and displacement camps, have all contributed to an extraordinary spike in cholera cases in recent years.

Vaccines are only one of the prevention methods available, according to Dr. Garone.

Cholera control can be achieved through providing adequate water and sanitation, improving disease surveillance and diagnosis, and, most critically, assuring early access to treatment and care when an outbreak occurs.

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