The Merck vaccine has already been given to at least 143,000 people in the latest outbreak, according to a report from Congo’s Ministry of Health on a series of late-June meetings with the WHO and other health groups on stopping the outbreak. “We have developed a vaccine for a time of peace,” said Stoffels, who worked in clinics in poor African communities in Congo and elsewhere for years before coming to the company. Moving ahead with the J vaccine in Congo is still an important priority, if only to make sure that it will be tested and available later if it’s needed, said Ryan, who first joined WHO in 1996 and has helped manage outbreaks and other health emergencies for about 25 years. Merck’s vaccine was tested in a massive outbreak in West Africa that killed about 11,000 people and spread outside the continent for the first time. People in the afflicted region understand the usefulness of vaccination and are asking to be immunized, said Isabelle Defourny, director of operations with the humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres, in an email Friday.
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