Global Community Must Act Urgently To Deliver Cholera Vaccine To Haiti
The Guardian: Hurricane Matthew: Haiti needs vaccines to stop deadly cholera spreading
Anita Zaidi, director of the enteric and diarrheal diseases program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Helen Matzger, senior program officer on the vaccine delivery team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“…[T]hough six years have passed [since the Haiti earthquake] — with countless lessons learned and apologies granted — we stand on the precipice of repeating the same mistake when it comes to cholera: delayed use of the cholera vaccine, a lesser known tool to fight the disease. … A few years ago, a global vaccine stockpile was established to help countries experiencing outbreaks, or at high risk of cholera, easily access vaccines. … [I]f we don’t want to repeat past mistakes, we need to jump-start our cholera response today. Within two days the use of the stockpile could be approved and by next week the vaccine shipped to Haiti — if we act fast the vaccine could be used in Haiti’s hurricane-affected cholera hotspots in time to help prevent needless illness and death. We have an effective tool, and it is the responsibility of the global health community to do everything in our power to get cholera vaccines to Haiti immediately … We must act urgently so that we do not fail Haiti again” (10/7).