Cholera: FG in Discussions with Gavi Over Vaccine Shortage

The federal government has initiated talks with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) to secure additional cholera vaccines, according to Jide Idris, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC).

Idris confirmed this during an interview with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Nigeria is currently facing a cholera outbreak amidst a global vaccine shortage.

Idris emphasized the critical need for vaccines, noting that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, has begun discussions with Gavi in response to the urgent situation.

“At present, cholera vaccines are not stocked in our public facilities, though they are available in limited quantities in the private sector,” he explained. He highlighted that the global demand for cholera vaccines has surged, leading to severe shortages.

“This limited supply has strained efforts to control outbreaks in endemic regions, including Nigeria,” Idris added.

In response to the crisis, the NCDC has intensified public health campaigns, emphasizing hygiene practices and the importance of clean water.

“However, these measures alone are insufficient without adequate vaccination coverage. The shortage of vaccines has hampered mass immunization campaigns crucial for preventing the spread of cholera,” he stated.

Idris also called for stronger international collaboration to ensure that life-saving vaccines promptly reach the most vulnerable populations.

In response to the escalating cholera outbreak in 31 states, the NCDC has activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate national efforts to combat the disease.

“The cholera outbreak is characterized by a case fatality rate of 3.5 percent, significantly higher than the national expected average of one percent, underscoring the severity of the situation,” he said.

Lagos has accounted for the highest number of deaths with 29, followed by Rivers with eight, Abia and Delta with four each, Katsina with three, Bayelsa with two, and Kano, Nasarawa, and Cross River with one each.

The states affected by cholera include Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, the FCT, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.

Since January 2023, 82 million doses have been requested from 15 countries, almost double the 46 million doses produced over the same period. The global stockpile was depleted until early March 2024 and currently has 3.2 million doses, far short of the five-dose goal.


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