Cote d’Ivoire swiftly rolls out Ebola vaccination of frontline health workers

Prompt action taken to prevent an outbreak days after confirmation of first positive Ebola case.

Cote d’Ivoire kicked-off Ebola vaccination of high-risk populations, including health workers and first responders in Abidjan, after the first case of Ebola was confirmed on Saturday, 14 August. The country was able to swiftly begin its vaccination rollout on 16th August with the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccines manufactured by Merck pharmaceuticals. The vaccine doses were initially acquired by the World Health Organization (WHO) to help Guinea during its four-month long Ebola outbreak which was declared over on 19th June 2021. The vaccines were deployed quickly by Guinea to Cote d’Ivoire and included 2,000 doses that are being used under the “ring strategy” where people who have come into contact with a confirmed Ebola patient are given the vaccine, as well as first responders and health workers.

Guinea also sent roughly 3000 vaccine doses made by Johnson & Johnson to be used to enhance vaccination in areas not experiencing active transmission. “The Ebola vaccine is a critical tool in the fight against the virus and so it’s a top priority to move rapidly and start protecting people at high risk of the disease,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti. Adding that, “The speed with which Cote d’Ivoire has ramped up vaccination is remarkable and shows that with effective sub-regional solidarity we can quickly take measures to extinguish lethal infections that can potentially flare up into large outbreaks.”. To date, the country reports one confirmed case, one suspected case and nine contacts who have been identified and are being monitored. No Ebola related deaths have been reported.