Battle Against Cholera – Overcoming Vaccine Shortages

Assumpta Udochukwu
By Assumpta Udochukwu 4 Min Read

“Cholera outbreaks are becoming more frequent, more widespread, and are now occurring in previously spared countries,” Nguyen explained. The alarming spread of cholera has driven demand for vaccines from a modest two million doses in 2013 to a staggering 38 million in 2023″


Across Africa, cholera has re-emerged with alarming intensity, spreading to areas previously untouched by the disease. This deadly resurgence has created an urgent need for more vaccines, but a shortage in supply has complicated the fight against these outbreaks.

Aurelia Nguyen, chief program officer of the Gavi vaccine alliance, shared some encouraging news ahead of a crucial summit in Paris. This summit, aimed at ramping up vaccine production in Africa, is pivotal.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended administering a single dose of the cholera vaccine instead of the usual two to manage the current crisis. Despite the growing number of outbreaks, Nguyen reassured that the pressure on vaccine supplies is starting to ease, allowing for a more immediate response to new requests.

A key factor in this improvement is the increased production capacity of EuBiologics, a South Korean biopharmaceutical company and the sole supplier of oral cholera vaccines. “EuBiologics will increase its production by 30 percent this year and next, thanks in part to Gavi’s consistent purchases over the years,” Nguyen said. This boost in production means Gavi expects to receive 50 million doses in 2024 and around 65 million in 2025.

Image source: International Vaccine Institute

To further enhance vaccine availability, Gavi is diversifying its suppliers. “We are working with a second producer, the Indian company Bharat, which will supply more doses in 2025. Additionally, African producers will contribute in the future,” Nguyen stated. This strategic move is part of a broader 10-year, $1 billion initiative to support vaccine production in Africa.

Climate change has also become a crucial consideration in Gavi’s strategy. “This is the first time that global warming has been a criterion for investment in future vaccinations — for example, against dengue fever,” Nguyen noted. Gavi is closely monitoring diseases related to populations displaced by drought and other climate-related factors.

This boost in production means Gavi expects to receive 50 million doses in 2024 and around 65 million in 2025.

Conflict and displacement exacerbate the risk of disease outbreaks. Gavi is prepared for these scenarios with reserves of vaccines for various diseases, including cholera, yellow fever, meningitis, and measles. “We work closely with the WHO to keep an eye on new pathogens that may emerge, and we take climate shocks into account in our projections for future vaccine needs,” Nguyen explained.

Image source: International Vaccine Institute

Gavi’s proactive approach is backed by a robust financial strategy, with $500 million set aside for rapid responses to epidemics or pandemics. This funding model enables Gavi to vaccinate around 60 percent of the children born each year globally, balancing affordability and quality.

“We do not ask manufacturers to give us charity, but to sell to us at a reasonable price,” Nguyen said. Ensuring that children in Burkina Faso receive the same quality vaccines as those in Switzerland is essential to maintaining confidence in Gavi’s model. “We will never give out an expired dose.”

As the Paris summit approaches, there is hope that increased production and strategic planning will strengthen Africa’s defenses against cholera and other deadly diseases. The battle is challenging, but with sustained efforts from families and global cooperation, a victory against cholera is within reach.

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Assumpta Udochukwu
Posted by Assumpta Udochukwu
Assumpta is a Professional Accountant, Brand Strategist, Writer and Digital Data Storyteller with extensive experience in Finance, Digital Marketing and Business Administration. She is the Chief Analyst and Editor at, she is passionate about telling data stories in an entertaining and engaging manner.
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