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Jamaica lobbying for Ebola vaccine

National Epidemiologist Dr. Karen Webster Kerr
 
The Ministry of Health says it will be having discussions with international health agencies regarding the availability of the Ebola vaccine in the event that a case of the disease is detected here.
 
National Epidemiologist Dr. Karen Webster Kerr says during a meeting regarding the Ebola Alert, questions about the vaccine will be put to the World Health Organisation and Pan American Health Organisation.
 
She explained that Jamaica is interested in receiving the ring vaccination which is not meant for the entire population but to vaccinate around the affected persons and those who may have been in contact with the virus. 
 
In December 2016, a study found the VSV-EBOV vaccine to be 70 to 100% effective against the Ebola virus, making it the first proven vaccine against the disease.
 
However, the design of the study and the effectiveness of the vaccine were questioned.
 
The World Health Organisation last week declared the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
 
As a result, health authorities, including in Jamaica have again been placed on alert for the virus.
 
But Ministry of Health officials are confident that Jamaica's health system is capable of managing if the Ebola Virus arrives in the country.
 
Dr. Nicole Dawkins-Wright, Director of Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services in the Health Ministry, has said there is a robust surveillance system starting at ports of entry so that response teams can be mobilised as quickly as possible to ensure the virus is contained before it spreads into the population. 
 
She said special attention is also paid to hospitals in the event the carrier of the virus is not detected at ports of entry. 


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