More than 700,000 people over the age of one year have been administered oral cholera vaccine in the first phase of a campaign in Cox’s Bazar to protect the newly arrived Rohingya population and their host communities against the deadly diarrhoeal disease.
The first phase of the oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign covered 700,487 people aged one year and above, including 179,848 children aged between one and five years. The campaign was launched on October 10 to cover 650,000 people, said a press release of World Health Organization (WHO).
The second phase is scheduled for early November to give an additional OCV dose to children aged between one and five years for added protection, it said.
“The coverage is commendable as the oral cholera vaccination campaign was planned and rolled out against very tight timelines. It demonstrates the commitment of the Ministry of Health, Bangladesh, partners on the ground, as well as partners such as GAVI and the International Coordinating Group on vaccine provision, to help secure the health and wellbeing of these immensely vulnerable people,” said Dr N Paranietharan, WHO representative to Bangladesh.
“The campaign has successfully vaccinated nearly 180,000 children aged one to five years. We will organise another round for these children to provide them with a second dose that will better protect them against this dangerous disease,” said Edouard Beigbeder, Unicef representative in Bangladesh.
The OCV campaign was planned following a risk assessment conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with the support of WHO, Unicef, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in late September.
The International Coordinating Group (ICG) on vaccine provision, which brings together WHO, Unicef, MSF, and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), released 900,000 doses of OCV within a day of the Bangladesh government’s request. GAVI provided financial support.