Safety of the oral cholera vaccine in pregnancy: Retrospective findings from a subgroup following mass vaccination campaign in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Vaccine. 2017 Mar 13;35(11):1538-1543. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.01.080. Epub 2017 Feb 11.


Background: Pregnant women are vulnerable to complications of cholera. Killed oral cholera vaccines (OCV) are not recommended for pregnant women though there is no evidence of harmful effects during pregnancy. We evaluated the effect of a killed OCV, Shanchol™, on pregnancy outcomes during an effectiveness trial of the vaccine in urban Bangladesh.

Methodology: Individuals ⩾1year were invited to participate in the trial, conducted in 2011 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Pregnancy by history was an exclusion criterion and all women of reproductive age (15-49years) were verbally questioned about pregnancy at enrollment and prior to vaccination. Out of 48,414 women of reproductive age 286 women received the OCV unknowingly while pregnant. Out of these, we could recruit 69 women defined as exposed to OCV. Accordingly, we selected 69 pregnant women randomly from those who did not take the OCV (non-exposed to OCV). We evaluated adverse pregnancy outcome (spontaneous miscarriages, still births, or congenital malformations) between those who were exposed to OCV and those who were not exposed to OCV.

Results: About 16% of pregnant women exposed to OCV had pregnancy loss, as compared to 12% of unvaccinated pregnant women (P=0.38). One congenital anomaly was observed and occurred in women non-exposed to OCV group. Models that adjusted for baseline characteristics that were unbalanced between the exposed and non-exposed groups, revealed a no elevation of risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in vaccinees versus non-vaccinees (Adj. OR (95% CI): 0.45 (0.11-1.88).

Conclusions: No excess of adverse fetal outcomes associated with receipt of OCV was observed in this study.

Trial registration: Clinical number NCT01339845.

Keywords: Oral cholera vaccine; Pregnancy; Shanchol™; Vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bangladesh
  • Cholera / prevention & control*
  • Cholera Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Cholera Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Vaccination / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnant Women*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Cholera Vaccines
  • shanchol

Associated data