Wonderfully hopeful news for Yemen, yet this probably isn’t exactly what you want to set a world record for. I hope the vaccines make it into the country without any problems and make a difference.
Exclusive from IRIN News:
One million doses of an emergency oral cholera vaccine from a global stockpile have been approved for urgent use in Yemen, IRIN has learnt. It is the largest quantity ever deployed at once and is intended to help combat a deadly outbreak sweeping across the war-torn country.
As of the writing of this article there have been 1,146 cholera related deaths, 167,000 suspected cases, or about one death every hour.
The vaccine is considered a preventative measure as it can only be given to those who are not infected with the disease. One of the other challenges is how to fairly distribute the vaccine across both sides of the conflict to avoid raising tensions over choosing sides. Others might be wary about the vaccine distribution, as seen during the polio vaccine campaign, and do not trust officials from the UN, which they blame for the war.
Once the vaccines arrive, the WHO representative said there is already a network and system in place to distribute them immediately on a door-to-door basis in priority areas to everyone above the age of one, and to allay the concerns of those who may be suspicious of the vaccine, or of health workers in general.
Doctor Anna Lopez, an associate professor at the University of Philippines Manila National Institutes of Health who is also an expert in cholera outbreaks and vaccines, agreed. “If you achieve high enough vaccine coverage for the community, people who do not get the vaccine also end up protected,” she said.
However, she did add that one study suggested at least a 50 percent vaccination rate is needed to confer this herd protection to the majority of a population.
Despite the large amount, one million doses of vaccine might not be enough. WHO requested 3.4 million.