Four leading international health organizations announce establishment of Ebola vaccine stockpile

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Ebola vaccine./Getty Images

Four leading international health and humanitarian organizations on Tuesday announced the establishment of a global Ebola vaccine stockpile to ensure effective future outbreak response.

The effort to establish the stockpile was led by the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, which includes the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The stockpile will allow countries, with the support of humanitarian organizations, to contain future Ebola epidemics by ensuring timely access to vaccines for populations at risk during outbreaks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is reminding us of the incredible power of vaccines to save lives from deadly viruses,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Ebola vaccines have made one of the most feared diseases on earth preventable. This new stockpile is an excellent example of solidarity, science and cooperation between international organizations and the private sector to save lives,” he added.

“This is an important milestone. Over the past decade alone we have seen Ebola devastate communities in West and Central Africa, always hitting the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest,” said IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain.

“Through each outbreak, our volunteers have risked their lives to save lives. With this stockpile, it is my hope that the impact of this terrible disease will be dramatically reduced.”

“Vaccination is one of the most effective measures to respond to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases, and Ebola is no exception”

“An Ebola vaccine stockpile can increase transparency in the management of existing global stocks and the timely deployment of the vaccine where it’s most needed,” Dr Natalie Roberts, Programme Manager, MSF Foundation said.

The injectable single-dose Ebola vaccine is manufactured by Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Corp. and developed with financial support from the US government.

The stockpile is currently stored in Switzerland and ready to be shipped to countries for emergency response.

The Ebola vaccine is reserved for outbreak response to protect people at the highest risk of contracting Ebola – including healthcare and frontline workers.

 

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