Oral Cholera Vaccine

Cholera vaccines are vaccines that are effective at preventing cholera. WHO recommends the use of oral vaccines in combination with other measures among those at high risk.[1][2][3]

Typically, oral vaccines are given to adults and to children above two years of age.

The available types of oral vaccine are generally safe. Mild abdominal pain or diarrhoea may occur. They are safe in pregnancy and in those with poor immune function. Safety and effectiveness for children below two years is not determined.

Two or three doses of the vaccine with intervals of 1-6 weeks are recommended to provide full effectiveness, and booster doses may be given after six months for children aged 2-5 years and after two years for older children and adults. The duration of protection from the primary vaccination is thus considered to be around six months for children aged 2-5 years and two years for older children and adults.

With this regime, the vaccine provides about 85% protection from cholera. The cost to immunise against cholera is estimated to be between 0.10 and 4 USD.[2] It is on WHO's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[4]

Cholera transmits between humans - in contrast to for example malaria, which transmits from insects to humans and not between humans. As with other diseases of this kind, when enough of the population is immunised, it may also protect those who have not been immunised ('herd immunity').

In October 2017, The Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) launched a renewed strategy for cholera control to support countries in the implementation of cholera control plans, based on multisectoral interventions targeting cholera hotspots. Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) can play an important role in outbreak prevention and control, and in long term control of cholera.[5]