Malawi’s worst cholera epidemic in decades has sparked massive demand for vaccines but stocks are reportedly running low.
According to local media, citing the spokesperson for the Malawi’s health ministry – Adrian Chikumbe -, the country has no more cholera vaccinesMalawi secured a tranche of 2.9 million doses from the Gavi-supported Global Oral Cholera Vaccine Stockpile in November.
The country’s 29 health districts reported cholera cases since the confirmation of the first case in March 2022. As of January 20, Malawi’s health authorities reported a total of 631 new cases of cholera; 17 new deaths.
The cumulative confirmed cases and deaths reported since the onset of the outbreak stood at 28,132 and 916 respectively. In its daily update, the health ministry urged all Malawians to adhere to preventive and containment measures.
Ministry of Health spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe, confirmed this to the local media, saying he has since asked Malawians to adhere to the strict preventive measures for the disease as outlined by the government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and cholera.
Chikumbe said the ministry is currently engaging the World Health Organization (WHO) for more support, adding that there is no immediate indication that the vaccines will come in anytime soon.
“I can confirm that we have depleted all the cholera vaccine doses that we had. We are now in talks with WHO for another consignment, but looking at the fact that there is only one manufacturer of the vaccine globally, and that we are competing for the same, there is no guarantee that we may get another consignment in a few days,” he said.
In November 2022, the WHO through the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision facilitated the procurement of 2.9 million vaccines for the Malawi government with funds from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi).