MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

Cholera vaccine program suspended in Haiti

A project to test vaccinations in the midst of a cholera outbreak in Haiti has been postponed after a Port-au-Prince radio station reported that the impending effort was a medical experiment on Haiti's people.

The Haitian Ministry of Health has since tried to counter the report by saying that the radio station's report arose from a mix-up that happened during last year's governmental change. The previous government opposed the vaccinations against cholera, NPR reports.

Michel Martelly, Haiti's new president, supports the vaccination demonstration project and his ministry of health gave approval in December. Partners in Health and GHESKIO, the sponsoring organizations of the vaccination pilot program, have submitted new proposals to the government for review. Those in favor of the plan hope that the plan can be accelerated for approval.

"(We are) confident the vaccination campaign will go ahead sometime later this month," PIH and GHESKIO officials, said, according to NPR.

Approximately $417,000 worth of vaccinations against cholera are currently being stored in refrigerated containers with 100,000 Haitians eager to receive the immunizations. The vaccinations were supposed to start this week in the rice-growing area of Bocozel and a densely packed slum in Cite de Dieu.

If the pilot program is successful, a much larger portion of the population may be vaccinated before next year's rainy season.