- Currently Haiti’s immunization program is not functioning.
- Tetanus is the disease of most immediate concern, of all vaccine-preventable diseases.
- The main cold room in Port-au-Prince, PROMESS, is working and has an adequate stock of most vaccines (including Td) and syringes.
- Cold chain assessment is undergoing to determine the availability of cold rooms, working refrigerators, propane for the functioning of gas refrigerators, and diesel for transportation.
- Immunization program activities outside of Port-au-Prince should be reinstated once the assessment has been finalized and safe access to Departmental cold rooms is ensured.
- Solutions for vaccine transportation are being sought with assistance from the Dominican Republic.
- Mass vaccination activities are not recommended at this time. They may be considered once vaccination becomes logistically feasible and the situation stabilizes. Priority groups (aged <5 years) will likely be targeted first.
- This unfortunate situation presents an opportunity to reconstruct and strengthen the routine immunization program in Haiti.
Specific Vaccine-preventable Diseases (VPDs)
- In the context of an earthquake, preventive measures against tetanus, including wound cleaning and active and passive immunization, should be routinely conducted. Tetanus vaccine (TT or Td) AND tetanus immune globulin (TIG) is indicated for those with open wounds/lacerations according to wound management guidelines.
- Mass tetanus vaccination programmes to prevent disease are not indicated.
- Current recommendations for treatment of tetanus during humanitarian emergencies
- Tetanus Prevention During Wound Management - (click here for French version)
- Tetanus Field Guide
- Neonatal Tetanus Field Guide
- Endemic measles virus transmission was interrupted in Haiti in 2001.
- A catch-up campaign against measles and rubella targeting the age group 1-19 years, plus polio vaccine in children < 5 years, was implemented from Nov. 2007 to Nov. 2008, reaching an estimated 94% of the target population (as suggested by rapid coverage monitoring).
- The risk of a measles outbreak will depend upon the reintroduction of the measles virus into the population.
- All aid workers going to Haiti should be vaccinated against both measles and rubella.
- In populations with low vaccination coverage, the crowding associated with displacement may increase the risk of outbreaks from other VPD, such as pertussis and diphtheria. Diphtheria outbreaks have occurred in Haiti in 2004, 2005 and 2009; 3rd dose (DTP3) coverage among one year old children in Haiti was reported as 53% (2008).
- Polio has been eliminated in Haiti. Coverage (OPV3) among one-year-old children was reported as 52% (2008).
- In a disaster like the one in Haiti, any suspected diphtheria case must be treated with diphtheria antitoxin and antibiotics (erythromycin or penicillin). Close contacts of a confirmed case must be vaccinated against diphtheria and receive antibiotics.
- Field Guides to VPDs