Canada says poor coordination bogging down Ebola vaccine shipment

Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:46pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Poor global coordination has bogged down Canada's efforts to deliver its Ebola vaccine to Africa, Canadian International Development Minister Christian Paradis said on Thursday.

The experimental vaccine remains in a government laboratory, six weeks after Canada promised to make it available to fight the deadly outbreak.

Canada is "deeply concerned by the inadequate coordination efforts" on Ebola, Paradis said in a speech to the United Nations in New York City, adding that he was not singling out any country or organization for blame.

Ottawa said on Aug. 12 that it would donate between 800 and 1,000 doses of its VSV-EBOV vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in Africa. The vaccine was being held at Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg as officials puzzled over how to safely transport it.

"When you talk about the vaccine, that shows that once again, you need a coordinated strategy," Paradis told reporters.

The Canadian government has previously said it was working with WHO to address complex regulatory, logistical and ethical issues surrounding deployment of the vaccine. One challenge is keeping it cool enough to remain potent.

WHO spokespeople could not be immediately reached for comment.

According to WHO, Ebola has killed almost 3,000 people since March in five countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal.   Continued...