First phase of Haiti cholera vaccination campaign completed

The first phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti was recently completed after the medicine was distributed to 50,000 adults and children over the age of nine.

The project is led by the Boston-based nonprofit Partners in Health, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population and the Haitian nonprofit GHESKIO. The American Red Cross also offered its support with $1.3 million, according to

"From everything I've seen, there is no one who was eligible for the vaccine who didn't want it. It's really great," Djencia Eresa Augustin, a cholera surveyor for PIH, said, reports.

The campaign was launched immediately prior to the beginning of the rainy season, which generally leads to a rise in the number of cholera cases. Approximately 100,000 people are expected to be inoculated with Shanchol during the duration of the project.

Shancol is an oral vaccine approved by the World Health Organization. Administered in two doses, it can protect individuals against cholera for up to thirty six months with an effectiveness rate of 65 to 75 percent.

During the first phase, the vaccine was administered to 50,000 individuals above the age of nine in the Artibonite region, which bore the brunt of the outbreak and is where it originated.

"We loaded 4,000 cholera vaccines into pick-up trucks and dispatched the vaccines with 40 four-member teams to towns and villages across the region," Jon Lascher, PIH Haiti program coordinator, said, reports. "Most teams worked faster than anticipated, and within two hours of starting, we ran out of vaccines at the post."

Vaccinations are set to begin for children under the age of nine during the last week in May.

"It has been our commitment to use every tool available to combat the spread of cholera in Haiti and ultimately save lives," Dr. Max Raymond Jr., the campaign's project coordinator, said, reports. "The successful completion of the first phase of this vaccination campaign gives us hope that with strong partnerships, we can achieve what may initially seem like a daunting goal."