Ebola vaccinations begin in Congo

Geneva  – An immunization campaign to stem the Ebola outbreak in Congo started on Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.

Tedros addressing the annual WHO meeting before the 190 member countries,”I’m pleased to say that vaccination is starting as we speak.”

Tedros added the public-private GAVI vaccine alliance, which funds the effort, said that more than 7 500 WHO-supplied vaccine doses are available in Congo.

Ebola an extremely infectious disease that causes a fever that often leads to massive internal bleeding and is often fatal.

WHO plans to administer the Ebola shots using the so-called ring method, this method targets people who have come in direct contact with patients, as well as the contacts of these primary contact persons.

GAVI chief executive Seth Berkeley said on Monday, “Health workers will be the first to receive the vaccine today, as they are the ones most likely to be exposed to the Ebola virus.”

During the WHO meeting, Germany pledged 5 million euros (5.9 million dollars) to fund the fight against the outbreak.

Jens Spahn spokeswoman for German Health Minister said, “We must do our utmost to prevent the disease from spreading,”

According to Congo Health Ministry data on Monday, the numbers of those infected is 22 people in the central African country. There are another 27 suspected and possible cases, bringing the total to 49.

Among the confirmed and suspected cases, the death toll stands at 27.

WHO is struggling to get the Ebola vaccines to where they are needed because the outbreak has hit some of the most remote parts of the Congo.

Berkley said, “They will need to be transported to one of the most remote parts of the [country], where there are next to no paved roads, electricity or telecommunications, at a temperature of minus 60 to minus 80 degrees Centigrade.”

Photo Credit- AP

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