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Sierra Leone Welcomes Ebola Vaccine Trial Outcome

  • Peter Clottey

Sulaiman Watfa, an Ebola survivor, takes the temperature of resident Fatmata Bangura in the community of Moa Wharf, Sierra Leone, May 27, 2015.

Sulaiman Watfa, an Ebola survivor, takes the temperature of resident Fatmata Bangura in the community of Moa Wharf, Sierra Leone, May 27, 2015.

Sierra Leone has welcomed the announcement by researchers that an Ebola vaccine experiment in neighboring Guinea showed effectiveness at preventing the disease, according to government spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay.

His comments came after the World Health Organization said Friday that early tests of a vaccine against Ebola showed a 100 percent success rate. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are the three West African countries mostly affected by the disease.

In Sierra Leone, health workers, including doctors and nurses at the Ebola frontlines, died battling the disease.

“We are ready as a nation to work with our international partners, because of the simple reason that sometimes wherever Ebola has occurred once, there is always a possibility of recurrence. Though we don’t hope that with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, but I think this is welcome news across the board,” said Bayraytay.

He said Sierra Leone has been cooperating in the Ebola vaccine trial.

“We have always been collaborating through the regional effort in the fight against the virus itself. We have always been sharing epidemiological evidence and data. In fact there was a vaccine that was brought to Sierra Leone whereby we tested it on our own frontline workers to see its efficacy,” said Bayraytay.

“So if today, Guinea after such trial is being tested is showing very positive signs that indeed it would be a potential vaccine for getting to zero in terms of infection, we salute all those that have contributed to that effort," he said. "We as a government would always be ready to collaborate so that way we can also contribute to the eradication and eventual stemming the tide of the virus even in the future.”

Meanwhile local reports in Sierra Leone, said President Ernest Bai Koroma held talks with opposition parties in the capital, Freetown.

This, after the opposition groups urged their parliamentarians not to support any new government’s quarantine directive aimed to combat Ebola.

The parties argued that the emergency regulations implemented by the administration are meant to stifle any dissent and undermine the constitution by extending presidential term limits.

Bayraytay said the accusations are without merit.

“We saw those as very misplaced approach and comment the reason being there is no inextricable link between the public state of emergency and the politics of the country, since we came into governance since 2007, we have never for once promulgated a public state of emergency but, in 2014 because of Ebola,” said Bayraytay.