The World Health Organisation, (WHO) in partnership with other UN agencies and humanitarian organisations, has announced the establishment of a global Ebola vaccine stockpile to help fight against the deadly virus.
WHO, in a statement posted on its website, announced that the vaccine stockpile would help to control future epidemics by ensuring timely access to vaccines for populations at risk during outbreaks.
Ebola virus disease is a severe and often fatal illness, with fatality rates varying from 25 per cent to 90 per cent. Thousands of people have lost their lives to the disease, since the virus was first discovered in 1976.
The statement quoted WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, as saying, “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 organisations and the private sector to save lives.”
Mr Ghebreyesus, who underscored the importance of the vaccines to save lives from deadly viruses, said some agencies and organisations would take lead to establish the stockpile, with financial support from Gavi, the vaccine Alliance.
He listed them as the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG) which included WHO, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) the International Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
“The stockpile is stored in Switzerland, and vaccines are ready to be shipped to countries for emergency response.”
The statement also quoted UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, as saying, “we are proud to be part of this unprecedented effort to help bring potential Ebola outbreaks quickly under control.