The New Dawn (Monrovia)

22 July 2014

Liberia: Red Cross Condemns Ebola Vaccine Claims

The Liberian Red Cross says it is not providing vaccination to any Ebola patient, and terms as evil, the act of people wanting to use the institution's identity to carry out clandestine their deed. A Red Cross' statement dated July 17, 2014 says it has been speculated in some quarters that Red Cross' staffs are in communities vaccinating suspected or confirmed patients with the deadly Ebola virus.

Though the Red Cross did not identify those it says are carrying on the speculation, the clarity was however made about a day after government alarmed to the public last week that unknown inviduals posing as health workers were issuing fake Ebola vaccine in communities.

The Deputy Health Minister for Research Planning, Ms. Yah Zolia told UNMIL radio last Wednesday, July 16 that the Health Ministry was receiving reports of imposters offering Ebola vaccine in some communities. Ms. Zolia said one of her staff and the health promotion director at the ministry had informed her about imposters delivering what they claimed is an Ebola vaccine.

The deputy health minister additionally said she personally received two calls from Paynesville and one from Brewerville, of complaints that unidentified individuals posing as health workers were delivering the fake Ebola vaccine. She said the action by the alleged imposters is intended to create false hope within the public that there is a vaccine for Ebola, which she dismissed as unfounded.

Ms. Zolia told UNMIL Radio that her staff did not name a specific community in which the false Ebola vaccine was being administered. However no suspect has since been identified as it relates to the alleged issuance of fake Ebola vaccine in Monrovia and its environs.

"The Liberian Red Cross says it is NOT providing vaccination to any Ebola patient as being speculated in the public," the statement read. Recently, the Liberian Red Cross Secretary General, Fayiah Tamba, said the institution is not vaccinating anyone against Ebola and repeated emphssis that the virus has no vaccine.

Mr. Tamba said he continues to receive calls from friends and partners on the speculation, but clarified that those involved are not Red Cross Staff. He demands the arrest and prosecution of anyone caught in the process, professing to be a Red Cross staff. Mr. Tamba said the rumor of Ebola vaccination by the Red Cross is false and misleading.

He said the Red Cross is strongly collaborating with the Government in the areas of Social Mobilization and awareness, psychosocial counseling, contact tracing, and the provision of survival kits to victims. Mr. Tamba finally said discussion is undergoing with the Ministry of Health as to how the Liberian Red Cross and its Movement partners can provide support also in the area of dead body management of Ebola victims.

The Health Ministry's update last week says the Ebola death toll in Liberia is 105 with 48 confirmed deaths since the second wave of outbreak here. The Ministry had said 179 cases have been reported throughout Liberia, and 67 of them have been confirmed so far.

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