More than 11,000 Ebola vaccines are expected to arrive in Guinea this weekend, with more to follow, and inoculations could start as soon as Monday, the World Health Organization and a Guinea health ministry official said on Thursday.
WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti told a news conference that 11,000 doses were being prepared in Geneva, while 8,600 more doses would be shipped from the United States.
Mohamed Lamine Yansane, a senior adviser to Guinea’s health minister, told the news conference that as soon as the vaccines arrive in Guinea on Sunday, the vaccination campaign can start on Monday.
Health authorities in the region and international organisations aim to halt a resurgence of the disease in Guinea and Congo to prevent a repeat of the 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, making it the deadliest Ebola epidemic on record.
“We think that it’s not likely at all that we will have a similar situation … as happened in the past,” Moeti said, adding that there has been a very rapid response in both countries building on previous experiences.
The WHO has already asked six African countries to be alert for possible Ebola infections after Guinea reported new cases and Democratic Republic of Congo said new infections there were a resurgence of a previous outbreak.