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In the event that an Ebola cure is developed in the form of a vaccine, there are a number of implications this would have on the world in terms of health and policy. I think one of the first concerns we would need to establish would be which strain of Ebola the vaccine is designed for, as there are two types: the Zaire ebolavirus and the Sudan ebolavirus; the latter of which has no proven vaccines. If a vaccine was developed for both of these strains, the next concern would be at what rate can these be produced and distributed. If there is a shortage of vaccines, for example, then it would be important to prioritize countries with the highest rates of infection. Ideally, we would have a vaccine that protects against many filoviruses, which would be somewhat of an elixir against a family of viruses that disproportionately affect certain regions. For the countries chosen as the targets of the first vaccine rollout, physicians and vaccine technologists will need to work together with politicians and leaders to ensure people understand how the vaccines work, how they can access them, and what it does for the health of the community. Transparency is the precondition for trust, which is a factor directly correlated with how effectively the vaccine will protect the population. Misunderstanding and fear can give the infection an opportunity to spread, which can exacerbate worst-case scenarios.

The first step I would take as a healthcare administrator in my jurisdiction would be to contact state officials to discuss and coordinate a response to infection and develop a vaccine rollout plan. In a hospital setting, it would be important to give priority access to more at-risk members, such as children. If isolation or quarantine were necessary, I would communicate this with my hospital staff and tell them to explain to isolate infected patients according to procedure. I would emphasize that it is their legal responsibility to remain in the hospital to avoid infecting others. Explaining this in a calm and sensitive manner should help placate some patients who are confused or reluctant to trust our judgement. It’s also important to note that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has the authority to quarantine, even when states are unwilling. Their contribution to disseminating relevant information such as transmission methods.

The vaccine rollout plan should progress from vulnerable persons to adults and adolescents, eventually reaching a state where scientific uncertainties can be monitored and investigated as needed. Health care staff would need to limit contact with infected patients, so the proper equipment would need to be worn and replaced regularly to keep the vaccine rollout plan moving swiftly through our designated priority groups until the infection rate is sufficiently lowered and eventually near or at zero. (461 words)

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