WHO calls for emergency cholera vaccine stockpile

The World Health Organization is calling for an emergency cholera vaccine stockpile to respond to outbreaks like the 2010 Haiti outbreak more quickly and effectively.

A recent successful vaccination project in Haiti that vaccinated 100,000 people in Port-au-Prince and a rural area demonstrated the potential success of cholera vaccination in the middle of an outbreak. Some critics of the plan oppose vaccination, however, stating that it distracts from treating the victims of cholera, NPR reports.

The WHO is seeking funds to create the stockpile, which would cost approximately $10 million a year to maintain enough vaccines for a million people. Vaccines against cholera cost $1.85 per dose and require two doses to gain 60 to 85 percent protection against the bacterial disease.

"As manufacturers ramp up production in the near future, the experts unanimously recommended moving toward universal vaccination," the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization, said, according to NPR.

The universal vaccination against cholera in Haiti would require approximately 20 million doses. More than 500,000 Haitians have been infected with cholera since 2010, with 7,400 succumbing to the disease.

"We should not fail to miss short-term opportunities to save lives more quickly," Jon Andrus, the deputy director of PAHO, said, according to NPR.