WHO announces that mass vaccinations cannot prevent Ebola outbreaks

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that a new Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Kongo.

But, as per a recent research, it suggested that a prophylactic mass vaccination programmes could not battle to prevent the Ebola disease. As per the study, Ebola virus outbreak control depends on the surveillance and the isolation of the Ebola cases.

Ebola virus (ANI/Ventuno)

It is revealed that very high proportions of potentially affected populations need to be protected by vaccination so that herd immunity is established. Herd immunity is the level of immunity that prevents virus transmission within a population.

So to prevent outbreaks of ebola virus, 80% of the population needs to be immunized, even if a highly effective vaccine that can protect 90% of people after vaccination was available. But these high vaccination rates are at present cannot be achieved. In a vaccination trial during the West African Ebola virus epidemic, only 49% of individuals who were in contact with Ebola virus patients could be vaccinated.

34 percent of the people in contact with the ebola virus patients refused vaccination even though they got exposed to the disease. At present there are no clinical vaccine candidates that can protect against all four human-pathogenic Ebola viruses.


The large vaccination programme becomes costly and even impractical as per the study. As many as 462 million people are living in the area affected by the ebola virus outbreak, which are mainly remote rural areas.

As per the research, the clinical vaccine candidates should be focused on the health care workers who get involved in disease transmission, potentially in combination with the vaccination of patient contacts.

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