How Long Does the Protection From Cholera Vaccination Last?

Cholera vaccination

Cholera is a potentially life-threatening acute diarrheal infection caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The disease remains a significant public health concern in many parts of the world, particularly in areas with inadequate access to safe water and proper sanitation.

Cholera can lead to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, which can be fatal if left untreated. While prompt treatment with oral rehydration solutions and antibiotics can effectively manage the illness, vaccination remains an important preventive measure, especially in cholera-endemic regions and during outbreaks.

Types of Cholera Vaccines

There are several cholera vaccines available globally, with the most common being the oral vaccines due to their ease of administration and good safety profile. The two main types of oral cholera vaccines are:

  • Dukoral: This vaccine is administered as a drink mixed with a buffer solution that protects the active ingredients as they pass through the stomach. Dukoral protects against cholera caused by Vibrio cholera serogroup O1 and provides some protection against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), a cause of travellers’ diarrhoea. It is recommended for adults and children aged two years and older.
  • Shanchol and Euvichol: These cholera vaccines are cheaper alternatives to Dukoral and do not require a buffer solution for administration. They protect against serogroups O1 and O139 of Vibrio cholerae. These vaccines are suitable for children over one year of age and adults.
Vaccine name
How givenNumber of doses recommendedAge rangeHow long vaccination is effective
(SBL Vaccines)
By mouth2 doses, given 1–6 weeks apart (Children aged 2–5 years need 3 doses, given 1 to 6 weeks apart)2 years and older2 years
ShanChol  *
(Sanofi Healthcare India Private Limited)
By mouth2 doses, given at least 2 weeks apart1 year and olderAt least 3 years for 2 doses; short-term protection for 1 dose
Euvichol-Plus  *
By mouth2 doses, given at least 2 weeks apart1 year and olderAt least 3 years for 2 doses; short-term protection for 1 dose

Source: NHS

Factors Influencing the Duration of Immunity

The duration of immunity provided by cholera vaccines is influenced by various factors, which can significantly affect how long the vaccine remains effective in preventing the disease. Below are some of the key factors that influence the duration of immunity after cholera vaccination:

  • Age: Younger individuals typically have a shorter duration of immunity compared to adults. This is partly due to the immature immune system in children which may not respond as robustly to the vaccine.
  • Booster Doses: Regular booster doses can extend the duration of protection. Boosters are particularly important in areas where cholera is endemic and for individuals who continue to be at high risk of exposure.
  • Exposure to Cholera: Natural exposure to the cholera bacterium can actually extend the duration of immunity provided by the vaccine. This is because exposure to the bacteria can boost the immune system’s memory, increasing its ability to fight off the infection in the future.
  • Individual Immune Response: Variability in individual immune system responses can also affect how long the vaccine’s protection lasts. Some people may naturally have a more robust immune response that lasts longer.

Current Recommendations

It is recommended to the use of cholera vaccines in conjunction with other prevention and control strategies. These strategies include improving water and sanitation, handwashing and food safety. Vaccination is particularly recommended for:

  • Populations in areas where cholera is endemic.
  • Travellers to regions where cholera is prevalent.
  • During outbreaks, as part of a controlled response to quickly reduce the spread of the disease.

Stay Protected During Your Trip with Cholera Vaccination

Cholera vaccines are a critical tool in the fight against cholera, offering substantial protection in vulnerable populations. However, the duration of this protection can vary based on a range of factors, necessitating periodic booster doses to maintain immunity, especially in high-risk areas or populations.

Our knowledgeable staff can help guide you through the vaccination process and ensure that you are fully prepared. Secure your health today by visiting Aroga Pharmacy in Farnham Common for a consultation and vaccination. Stay safe!