Govt launches massive cholera vaccination campaign; disease has so far killed 49 countrywide

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By Staff Reporter & Associated Press

HARARE: The government has embarked on a massive vaccination drive as the country battles a cholera outbreak that has killed at least 49 people.

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo said the vaccination campaign, with help from the World Health Organization, is targeting more than 500,000 people between Wednesday and Sunday.

The minister was speaking during the launch of the campaign in Harare’s Budiriro suburb, one of the areas worst affected by the disease.

Close to one million more people will be vaccinated starting next week.

“The vaccine requires an individual to have 2 doses before the end of 6 months and that person will be protected from cholera for 5 years,” said Moyo.

“The vaccination will be going on during weekends to accommodate those who will be at work during week days.

“Vaccinations will take place at all clinics in the targeted suburbs, business centres and churches.”

According to the government, the outbreak has sickened more than 9,000 people mostly in Harare since September.

The administration has already declared the epidemic a state of emergency.

Many fear a repeat of 2008 when cholera killed more than 4,000 people at the height of the southern African country’s economic and political problems.

Water and sewer infrastructure have collapsed, with raw sewage flowing freely in some Harare streets.

Recently elected President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to fight the “medieval” disease.