Haiti Prepares Rollout of First Cholera Vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Haitian officials reported on Tuesday that the Haitian government is preparing to initiate a cholera vaccination program this week following the arrival of the initial shipment of vaccines.

Haiti Prepares Rollout of First Cholera Vaccines
Image credit: Al Jazeera

Facts

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and Haitian officials reported on Tuesday that the Haitian government is preparing to initiate a cholera vaccination program this week following the arrival of the initial shipment of vaccines.
  • The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) provided Haiti with 1.17M doses of oral cholera vaccines due to the increasing number of cases in the country. Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population requested the Evichol vaccine from the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (IGC), which is responsible for managing the global cholera vaccine stock.
  • After a three-year absence, Cholera surged in the Caribbean country in October and has since claimed 280 lives, a large proportion of whom were children. A blockade of the main fuel port by a criminal gang has exacerbated a health crisis by producing a shortage of food and drinking water.
  • The WHO announced that the immunization drive will start in the coming days. It will center on children as young as one year old in the most vulnerable districts of the Ouest and Centre Departments.
  • Lauré Adrien, director of Haiti’s Public Health and Population Ministry, expressed that the shipment of oral vaccines to Haiti is a "step in the right direction," which will be augmented by "surveillance, water and sanitation interventions, social mobilization, and treatment."
  • Cholera is an infectious disease caused by consuming water or food contaminated with cholera bacteria. It can produce extreme bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, and thirst and is spread quickly in areas with inadequate wastewater treatment and safe drinking water.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Paho, and Reuters

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Washington Post. This cholera outbreak is another consequence of the complex humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the killing of President Jovenal Moïse in 2021. Though the country has drifted into chaos, the international community remains silent and indifferent to Haiti's suffering. It's time for a robust international intervention to restore order and provide crucial aid.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Al Jazeera. While the international community must assist Haiti in addressing the humanitarian crisis - including the latest cholera outbreak - global powers should resist temptations to intervene strongly in Haitian affairs. Yes, Port-au-Prince needs help, but it can only achieve long-term political stability if Haitians are allowed to create a political system on their terms.