Twenty thousand doses of Ebola vaccines are expected to arrive in Guinea this weekend to support the country’s efforts in curbing the spread of the deadly virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.
HumAngle reported that the West African nation declared the virus’s outbreak on Feb. 8, and five deaths have so far been attributed to Ebola.
The last outbreak, which began in Guinea in 2013, claimed 11,300 lives in the region. It was the deadliest outbreak of the disease since it was first discovered in 1976.
Eleven thousand doses are expected to arrive from Geneva, Switzerland, with an additional 8,500 doses from the United States with plans to kick off vaccinations once the vaccines arrive.
A 30-man vaccination team has already been mobilised to administer the vaccines, the organisation said.
Additionally, WHO has released $1.25 million in support of the outbreak in Guinea and further intensifies preparedness for a possible spread in neighbouring countries such as Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal.
The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund has also disbursed $15 million in response to the outbreak.
Seven hundred kilogrammes of medical equipment donated by WHO and other organisations were flown into the Guinean city of N’Zerekore on Monday.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also recorded four Ebola cases with two deaths, declaring an outbreak on Feb. 14.
The DRC already has 8,000 vaccine doses from the previous outbreak, with 70 people vaccinated.
“The quick rollout of vaccines is a testament to the enormous local capacity built in the previous outbreaks by WHO and partners,” the organisation said.
WHO and other partner organisations are racing to step up surveillance, contact tracing, testing and treatment with more than 100 staff deployed from within and outside Guinea expected by the end of the month.
The organisation’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti reiterated this, saying they were currently working hard to get ahead of the virus, with the response already “off to a strong start”.
“Our collective, quick action is crucial to averting an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already pushed health workers and health facilities to the edge,” she added.