More than 11,000 Ebola vaccines expected in Guinea this weekend -WHO

epa07802957 Protective equipments are hung to dry at an Ebola transit center in Beni, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 29 August 2019. The death toll from the DR Congo's Ebola epidemic, an outbreak declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is expected to pass two thousand soon. EPA-EFE/HUGH KINSELLA CUNNINGHAM

DAKAR, Feb 18 (Reuters) - 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. (Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Bate Felix and Hugh Lawson)


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