Mass Vaccination with a New, Less Expensive Oral Cholera Vaccine Using Public Health Infrastructure in India

The Odisha Model

Citation: Kar SK, Sah B, Patnaik B, Kim YH, Kerketta AS, et al. (2014) Mass Vaccination with a New, Less Expensive Oral Cholera Vaccine Using Public Health Infrastructure in India: The Odisha Model. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8(2): e2629. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002629
Published: February 6, 2014

Cholera_bacteriaIntroduction: The substantial morbidity and mortality associated with recent cholera outbreaks in Haiti and Zimbabwe, as well as with cholera endemicity in countries throughout Asia and Africa, make a compelling case for supplementary cholera control measures in addition to existing interventions. Clinical trials conducted in Kolkata, India, have led to World Health Organization (WHO)-prequalification of Shanchol, an oral cholera vaccine (OCV) with a demonstrated 65% efficacy at 5 years post-vaccination. However, before this vaccine is widely used in endemic areas or in areas at risk of outbreaks, as recommended by the WHO, policymakers will require empirical evidence on its implementation and delivery costs in public health programs. The objective of the present report is to describe the organization, vaccine coverage, and delivery costs of mass vaccination with a new, less expensive OCV (Shanchol) using existing public health infrastructure in Odisha, India, as a model.
Methods: All healthy, non-pregnant residents aged 1 year and above residing in selected villages of the Satyabadi block (Puri district, Odisha, India) were invited to participate in a mass vaccination campaign using two doses of OCV. Prior to the campaign, a de jure census, micro-planning for vaccination and social mobilization activities were implemented. Vaccine coverage for each dose was ascertained as a percentage of the censused population. The direct vaccine delivery costs were estimated by reviewing project expenditure records and by interviewing key personnel.
Results: The mass vaccination was conducted during May and June, 2011, in two phases. In each phase, two vaccine doses were given 14 days apart. Sixty-two vaccination booths, staffed by 395 health workers/volunteers, were established in the community. For the censused population, 31,552 persons (61% of the target population) received the first dose and 23,751 (46%) of these completed their second dose, with a drop-out rate of 25% between the two doses. Higher coverage was observed among females and among 6–17 year-olds. Vaccine cost at market price (about US$1.85/dose) was the costliest item. The vaccine delivery cost was $0.49 per dose or $1.13 per fully vaccinated person.
Discussion: This is the first undertaken project to collect empirical evidence on the use of Shanchol within a mass vaccination campaign using existing public health program resources. Our findings suggest that mass vaccination is feasible but requires detailed micro-planning. The vaccine and delivery cost is affordable for resource poor countries. Given that the vaccine is now WHO pre-qualified, evidence from this study should encourage oral cholera vaccine use in countries where cholera remains a public health problem.

Author Summary
Cholera – an acute life-threatening diarrheal illness – continues to disrupt public health in resource poor countries. The devastating outbreaks in Haiti and Zimbabwe – to name just two of many occurrences – calls for the use of available oral cholera vaccines as an additional tool in the arsenal of cholera control measures. An oral cholera vaccine (Shanchol) has been licensed in India since 2009; however, there has only been limited use of this vaccine in government public health programs. A vaccination campaign using 2 doses of Shanchol was conducted in Odisha, India, during May and June, 2011, where 31,552 persons (61% of the target population) received the first dose and 23,751 of them completed their second dose. The vaccine delivery cost was $0.49 per dose. Through our findings and experience, we discuss the organization of the cholera vaccination campaign in Odisha, the challenges met for conducting the campaign and the strategies designed to overcome those challenges, and the delivery costs incurred in the use of this vaccine, the first of its kind, in a public health setting. We believe that evidence from this study is of significant interest and use to policymakers from countries where cholera remains a public health problem.

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