Health News

Ghana halts Ebola vaccine trial due to community protests

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana has halted a plan to test two Ebola vaccines in an eastern town after legislators backed local protests against the trials sparked by fears of contamination, officials said on Wednesday.

The country’s Food and Drugs Authority said it had begun enlisting volunteers in Hohoe in the Volta region to be injected with drugs made by Johnson & Johnson and Bavarian Nordic as part of a global Ebola vaccine drive.

Youth leaders threatened to boycott the program. “We don’t want to be guinea pigs,” one local leader told Reuters.

Ebola has killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since it began more than a year ago but new cases have declined sharply. Ghana has yet to record a case.

“The (health) minister has suspended the trials indefinitely because the people said they don’t want it,” Health Ministry spokesman Tony Goodman said. The worst-hit countries have completed first trials of an experimental vaccine.

On Wednesday, parliament ordered the trials suspended and summoned the health minister to appear next week on the matter, senior parliamentary official Ebenezer Dzietror told Reuters.

Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Christian Plumb