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1 million yellow fever vaccines "mysteriously disappear" in Angola

1 million yellow fever vaccines "mysteriously disappear" in Angola

Angola

It has emerged that 1 million yellow fever vaccines out of 6 million mysteriously disappeared in Angola earlier this year, as the country and the Central Africa region battled to control one of the worst yellow fever epidemics in decades.

From Angola, the virus spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo with a total of around 5,000 suspect cases and nearly 500 deaths.

It was the same people at WHO that made the initial calls during Ebola and it was the same exact response: We've got enough, we don't need help and it's all under control

The Associated Press (AP) reports that an investigation has revealed grave short comings in the way the World Health Organisation (WHO) handled the outbreak and the ongoing vaccination campaigns in Angola and the DRC.

In an emailed response, WHO and its partners describe the loss as “not unexpected” adding that “there is an expected 10 percent reserve factored in for losses and wastage in mass vaccination campaigns for yellow fever.”

More than 18 million vaccines have so far been sent to Africa which is far short of the 40 million doses that some experts suggest are needed to contain the outbreak.

But, this is being viewed as a weak response similar to that the agency gave in the way it handled 2014 Ebola outbreak in three west African countries that killed around 11,000 people.

The AP further quotes Amanda Mc Clelland, a senior emergency official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) who said, “ It was the same people at WHO that made the initial calls during Ebola and it was the same exact response: We’ve got enough, we don’t need help and it’s all under control.”

Angolan officials however dispute any vaccines were missing.

“There has been no diversion (of the vaccines) whatsoever” said Luis Gomes Sambo, Angola’s health minister adding that the government has careful accounting of where and when the shots were administered and nothing has disappeared.

News Agencies

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