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Delayed Ebola vaccination drive to begin in Guinea

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on September 30, 2014, Liberians wash their hands next to an Ebola information and sanitation station, raising awareness about the virus in Monrovia. – Liberian President George Weah on February 14, 2021, put the country’s health authorities on heightened alert after four people died of Ebola in neighbouring Guinea, the first resurgence of the disease in five years. Weah “has mandated the Liberian health authorities and related stakeholders in the sector to heighten the country’s surveillance and preventative activities in the wake of reports of the emergence of the deadly Ebola virus disease in neighbouring Guinea,” his office said in a statement (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP)

Guinea will launch an Ebola vaccination drive Tuesday after a flight delayed by a Saharan dust storm arrived carrying thousands of jabs, as the West African country fights to stamp out a resurgence of the deadly virus.

The outbreak, declared last weekend, is the first in the region since a 2013-16 epidemic left more than 11,300 people dead, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The start of the inoculation campaign had to be delayed by one day after a plane carrying more than 11,000 vaccine doses was unable to land in Guinea’s capital Conakry due to a dust storm.

A special flight carrying the Merck vaccine finally landed in Guinea late Monday, an AFP correspondent reported.

Health authorities said some of the doses would head straight to Nzerekore, the capital of Guinea’s southeastern forest region where five people have recently died of Ebola.

Inoculations are also planned in Conakry on Tuesday.

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

As well as Guinea, the disease has also recently reemerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A further 8,700 vaccine doses were set to arrive from the United States on Wednesday.

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