By Francis Pelenah
Various communities around the country have signed up to the recently launched reinforced vaccine study being conducted by (PREVAIL-V) the Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia.
The study, also known as PREVAC, is the first under a sub-regional consortium of Ebola affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Thousands of people died in the three countries and thousands more who were afflicted survived, thus prompting researchers to investigate a possible Ebola preventive vaccine.
At the weekend, residents of Unification Town and New Kru Town, at separate community engagement meetings, welcomed the study and gave their commitment to encourage more public participation in it.
Morris Bonbodee of Unification Town Community told the gathering that he is convinced the study is in the best interest of Liberia and should be supported by all Liberians.
His comments were echoed by Mrs. Josephine Davies, who said the information given by PREVAIL and one of its partners, Liberia Crusaders for Peace team, has to some extent dispelled some of their fears of Ebola survivors.
According to the Medical Affairs Scientist at PREVAIL, Jestina Doe Anderson, the objective of the study is to know if previous vaccines tested in the region are safe and effective in children. She said the new study will determine the duration of the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Unlike previous Ebola prevention vaccine trials done at the Redemption Hospital, children will take part in the PREVAC study. However, pregnant women, sick people, breastfeeding mothers and previous participants of the vaccine study will not participate in the PREVAC study.
Madam Anderson was also speaking during the community engagement in Unification Town in support of the Ebola Natural History Study by the joint US-Liberia clinical research partnership. which is taking place at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.
The story was the same in New Kru Town on Saturday April 22 as stakeholders from all parts of the Municipal Borough turned out to show their support for the vaccine project.
Most of the speakers at the program pledged to volunteer for the project and also encourage others to join as study participants.