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Zimbabwe launches door-to-door cholera vaccination campaign

ZIMBABWE launched a cholera vaccination campaign to immunize over 2 million people against the waterborne disease, amid an outbreak that has killed hundreds since early last year.

Cholera had killed 452 people and infected a total of 20,446 in the southern African country as of January 24, since the outbreak started in February 2023, according to health ministry statistics. About half of the cases have involved children.

Zimbabwe will receive a total of 2.3 million vaccine doses from UNICEF and the World Health Organization to be deployed to 29 of the hardest-hit districts. More than 892,000 doses have already been dispatched, the health ministry said.

The cholera vaccine roll-out campaign was launched in Kuwadzana, a township about 15 km (9 miles) from central Harare.

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Health workers administered the first vaccines to schoolchildren amid calls for residents to participate. They have also started going door-to-door offering vaccines to households.

Cholera is spread by contaminated food or water and often occurs in crowded urban areas with poor sanitation facilities.

The campaign uses the Euvichol-Plus vaccine, produced by EuBiologics, which is administered orally and protects against cholera infections for at least six months.

In November, the Zimbabwean government moved to restrict public gatherings and food vending and monitor burials in areas affected by cholera after cases spiked.

“The introduction of the cholera vaccine is another tool to prevent the further spread of the disease,” the health ministry said.

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By NYASHA CHINGONO

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