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Vaccine group announces creation of Ebola vaccine stockpile

Last Updated Dec 5, 2019 at 7:27 am MDT

In this Saturday, July 13, 2019 photo, a child is vaccinated against Ebola in Beni, Congo. Health experts agree the experimental Ebola vaccine has saved multitudes in Congo. But after nearly a year and some 171,000 doses given, the epidemic shows few signs of waning. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

LONDON — The vaccine alliance GAVI announced it would invest $178 million to create a global stockpile of about 500,000 Ebola vaccines, a move health officials say could help prevent future outbreaks from spiraling out of control.

GAVI is a public-private partnership that includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank, among others. The funding announcement was made Thursday after a meeting of GAVI’s board in New Delhi.

Since the latest outbreak in Congo was identified last August, health officials have immunized more than 255, 000 people with a recently licensed vaccine made by Merck.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chair of Gavi’s board, called the creation of the Ebola vaccine stockpile a “historic milestone in humanity’s fight against this horrific disease.”

The Associated Press