Sierra Leone launched an Ebola vaccination campaign on Tuesday as part of measures to contain any potential cross-border transmission of the disease from Guinea.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) said the campaign began in Kambia District, a primary international point of entry, and will continue “over the coming days” in eight other districts bordering Guinea.
Authorities hope to vaccinate at least 16,000 people with individuals receiving two doses of the vaccine given approximately eight weeks apart.
The campaign, which is being led by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, is being undertaken even though Sierra Leone has not yet recorded any Ebola case since the latest outbreak in the region was first reported in Guinea in mid-February.
According to the W.H.O., the exercise is being gone to ensure that frontline health workers in health facilities where people who may be infected with Ebola would first report for care are protected against the disease. Traditional healers, will also receive the jab, the W.H.O. added.
“This strong partnership, led by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation is a strategic step towards protecting the health of the population in Sierra Leone and a clear demonstration of the concern and care for the frontline workers who may be at risk.” the W.H.O.’s Representative in Sierra Leone, Dr. Steven Velabo Shongwe, said.
The worst Ebola virus outbreak began in Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016, and claimed more than 11,300 lives, with over 28,600 recorded cases.