Comprised the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the ICG – with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – has established a global stockpile of Ebola vaccines, which it says will help mitigate against future Ebola epidemics by giving countries at risk timely access to the vaccines during outbreaks.
Prequalified by WHO, and licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as in eight African countries, the injectable single-dose Ebola vaccine (known as ‘rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP, live') is manufactured by Merck, Sharp & Dohme Corp., developed with financial support from the Government, and protects against the Zaire ebolavirus species, which is most commonly known to cause outbreaks.
Ebola vaccine will arrive to countries in need within seven days of request
UNICEF will manage the stockpile (its allocation and release) – which is stored in Switzerland – on behalf of the ICG, according to a statement released by WHO, alongside stockpiles of cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. The decision to allocate the vaccine will be made within 48 hours of receiving a request from a country; vaccines will be made available together with ultra-cold chain packaging by the manufacturer for shipment to countries. The targeted overall delivery time from the stockpile to countries is seven days.
“The creation of an Ebola vaccine stockpile under the ICG is a positive step”, said Dr Natalie Roberts, Programme Manager, MSF Foundation. “Vaccination is one of the most effective measures to respond to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases, and Ebola is no exception. An Ebola vaccine stockpile can increase transparency in the management of existing global stocks and the timely deployment of the vaccine where it’s most needed, something MSF has called for during recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
The power of vaccines against disease
“The Covid-19 pandemic is reminding us of the incredible power of vaccines to save lives from deadly viruses,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Ebola vaccines have made one of the most feared diseases on earth preventable. This new stockpile is an excellent example of solidarity, science and co-operation between international organisations and the private sector to save lives.”