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Pregnant women in DRC finally receive Ebola vaccine (Devex)

June 28, 2019

From the article:

Earlier this month, pregnant women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo finally started receiving a life-saving Ebola vaccine, but the months-long delay has put hundreds of women at risk.

The Ebola outbreak first declared in August has claimed 1,437 confirmed lives so far, making it the second-largest outbreak ever recorded.

An experimental vaccine — VSV-EBOV, produced by Merck — has helped to limit further spread. It had been administered to more than 126,000 individuals by the end of May, under a “ring vaccination” scheme in which it is being offered to frontline health workers and people who have come into contact with Ebola patients.

But it was not made available to pregnant and breastfeeding women due to a lack of evidence about its effects on mothers and infants — despite pregnant women facing mortality rates of up to 93% from Ebola, compared to an average of 50% in the general population.

...

Pregnant and lactating women in the DRC finally have access to ... one of the best prevention tools we have against this deadly virus,” said Carleigh Krubiner, a faculty member at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. “Hopefully this will set a new precedent for ongoing and future Ebola vaccination efforts, avoiding costly delays in protocol approvals while women face the very real threats of Ebola infection.”

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Carleigh Krubiner
Policy Fellow