News & AnalysisPUBLIC HEALTH

Policy Shifts on Emergency Use of Cholera Vaccines

Science  17 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6096, pp. 785-786
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6096.785

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Summary

Many experts have argued that in outbreak situations—especially in the poor, messy places where cholera often strikes—existing vaccines are too expensive, not effective enough, and too impractical to roll out; they might even make matters worse, some fear, because they distract health workers from treating patients or improving water and sanitation, the cornerstones of cholera control. But now, the tide appears to have turned. This week, a technical working group at the World Health Organization is set to publish a report advocating for the creation of a global stockpile of cholera vaccines that would be rushed to countries when an outbreak begins.