Fog delays supply of Ebola vaccines for Guinea

Fog delays delivery of Ebola vaccines for Guinea

A scanning electron micrograph of the Ebola virus leaking from a cell (renal epithelial cell line of the African green monkey). Image Credit: NIAID

Delivery of vaccines against the Ebola virus to Guinea has been delayed as fog disrupted flights to the capital, Conakry, a health official said on Sunday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that more than 11,000 doses of the Merck vaccine against the deadly disease would arrive in Conakry on Sunday.

The plane left Geneva early Sunday but continued to fly to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, according to Guinean health agency chief Sakoba Keita, who said it will attempt to land in Conakry on Monday if conditions allow.

The Guinean capital has been shrouded in fog for the past three days due to strong harmonious winds that carried dust from the Sahara, and a Guinean official told AFP that all flights to and from Conakry have been canceled "until further notice".

Health officials said the lot is destined for Nzerekore, the capital of Guinea's south-eastern forest region alongside Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast, where five people have died from Ebola.

The outbreak, announced last weekend, was the first in West Africa since a 2013-16 epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Keita said the jabs program is expected to start Tuesday in Gouecke near Nzerekore as well as in Conakry.

In addition to the vaccines expected by WHO, more than 8,500 doses will be dispensed from the US, making a total of around 20,000, the WHO said in a statement.

"We are assuming that more than 100 national and international experts will be on site by the end of the month. 30 vaccination experts have already been mobilized on site and are ready to go as soon as the Ebola vaccines arrive in the country," said the WHO region Africa Tshidi Moeti said on Twitter last Thursday.

Ebola causes a severe fever and, in the worst case, unstoppable bleeding. It is spread through close contact with body fluids, and people who live with or care for patients are most at risk.

A new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has claimed four lives, officials said on Sunday, warning that people are opposed to measures to contain the highly contagious disease.

The United States announced last week that it would be working with affected governments and the WHO on the outbreaks.

"The world cannot afford to go the other way. We must do everything in our power to respond quickly and effectively," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

WHO says more than 11,000 Ebola vaccines will go to Guinea

© 2021 AFP

Fog Delays Ebola Vaccine Delivery For Guinea (2021, Feb.21)
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