Oral cholera vaccines

While the long term solution for the prevention of cholera remains access to safe water, hygiene promotion and sanitation, Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) can play an important role in outbreak prevention and control, and in long term control of cholera.

In 2013, WHO established a stockpile of oral cholera vaccine for use in both emergencies (outbreak control and humanitarian crises) and non-emergency settings. The emergency stockpile is managed by the International Coordinating Group (ICG). For non-emergency settings, vaccines are available via the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC). In these contexts, OCV is used as part of a multisectoral cholera control plan to complement other cholera control measures such as ensuring longer term access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and reinforcement of surveillance, social mobilization and case management. In eligible countries, financial support for vaccines and vaccine delivery is provided by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

More than 15 million doses of OCVs have been used in mass vaccination campaigns with WHO support since 2013. The campaigns have been implemented in areas experiencing an outbreak, in areas at heightened vulnerability during humanitarian crises, and among populations living in highly endemic areas, known as “hotspots”.

The use of OCVs has enabled the collection of evidence on and demonstration of the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing OCV campaigns as a public health tool, protecting populations at high risk of cholera.

Ongoing battle against cholera in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Technical notes