Cholera vaccine on the cards

George Jobe

As cholera cases continue to rise in the southern part of Malawi, the Ministry of Health (MoH) says it has 2.9 million doses of vaccines to be administered in cholera-hit districts.

MoH spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the vaccine exercise would be administered in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre Machinga and Neno districts

He said the cholera vaccination exercise was put on hold to pave the way for Covid and polio vaccination exercises.


“While we had Covid vaccination express, the polio vaccination exercise was also coming; as such, we decided to put on hold the cholera vaccine [for us] not to confuse people but also not to overwhelm the people who are administering the vaccines because it was the same people who were conducting the routine vaccination of children, handling Covid vaccination and polio vaccination exercises.

“Covid vaccination continues but for polio, we will continue in June and that is why we are doing the cholera vaccination exercise this month. This week, we are doing distribution, the other week we will be doing awareness and then, from May 23 to 27th or thereabout, we will be giving out the vaccine,” he said.

According to the ministry, up to 17 cases were recorded on Monday, May 10, 11 of which were from Blantyre.


Seven cases were recorded on May 7, all from Blantyre, while four cases were recorded on May 5— again, from Blantyre.

As of Monday, cumulatively, the country recorded 160 cases in five districts of Nsanje, 89, Blantyre, 36, Neno, 28, Chikwawa, five, and Machinga (two).

On top of the provision of vaccines, MoH officials are encouraging people to observe good hygienic practices at all times.

“There is an urgent need to improve access to safe water and coverage on sanitation, risk communication and community engagement should be ongoing. Inter-district and cross border coordination and collaboration are very crucial in the prevention and containment of this cholera outbreak,” reads MoH’s update.

On the vaccination, health rights advocate George Jobe urged the government to borrow a leaf from the polio vaccination exercise which, he said, was largely successful because people were assured that the vaccine was not new.

“We have had the cholera vaccine for some time now; so, people must be assured that it’s not new and if we no longer have cholera cases in Zomba, for example, it is because of the vaccine,” he said.

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