DAKAR (SENEGAL) – Amid outbreak of Ebola, Guinea is set to receive more than 11,000 Ebola vaccines this weekend. Authorities are planning to start inoculations as soon as Monday, a health ministry official and the World Health Organization said on Thursday.
Guinea has recorded three confirmed and four probable cases of Ebola, including five deaths. Six of the cases were in the southeast, while one is being treated in the capital Conakry, which he travelled more than 900 km (559 miles) to from the southeast.
The 11,000 doses are being prepared in Geneva and over 8,600 more doses will be shipped from the United States, WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti told a news conference.
“Once the vaccines are here in Guinea on Sunday, the vaccination campaign can start from Monday,” said Mohamed Lamine Yansane, a senior adviser to Guinea’s health minister.
Health authorities hope to curb the resurgences of the disease this month in Guinea and in Democratic Republic of Congo. The two outbreaks are however, unrelated.
They are aiming 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 on record.
“We think it’s not likely at all that we will have a similar situation in Guinea and the neighbouring West African countries as happened in the past because capacities have been built up,” Moeti said.
Guinea is also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic but has been spared a steep second wave like other West African countries and has ample capacity to vaccinate against both diseases, Lansane said.
The WHO has already asked six West African countries to be alert for possible Ebola infections after Guinea reported new cases.
Congo said new infections there were a resurgence of a previous outbreak that ended last year. It began vaccinations earlier this week.