EYEAFRICA TV: New York, USA:- In a major milestone in the fight against deadly diseases, UN agencies and their humanitarian partners announced on Tuesday, the establishment of a global Ebola vaccine stockpile, to help 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.
Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, underscored the importance of the vaccines to save lives from deadly viruses.
“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 organizations and the private sector to save lives,” he said.
The International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG), which includes WHO, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), led efforts to establish the stockpile, with financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The stockpile is stored in Switzerland, and vaccines are ready to be shipped to countries for emergency response.
As Ebola outbreaks are relatively rare and unpredictable, there is no natural market for the vaccine, and doses are only secured through the establishment of stockpiles and are available in limited quantities.
According to the UN agencies, an initial 6,890 doses are available for outbreak response and quantities will be added over the coming months to take the emergency stockpile to 500,000 doses, the amount recommended by health experts.