DENVER — A few medical employees at Denver Health made history Monday as some of the first people to receive the live Ebola vaccine for preventative measures, the hospital said.
Ebola is a rare but deadly disease. In 2014, a major outbreak in West Africa led to some cases in the United States. While there are no known outbreaks in the world right now, members of Denver Health’s High Risk Infection Team said they are some of the first to receive the live vaccine as a way to be prepared in the event of a future outbreak.
The team is a part of the Regional Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Center – one of 13 centers in the U.S. that can treat infectious diseases like Ebola.
“Even though there are no current outbreaks in the world, we want to make sure that people have the chance to be protected in case we need to take care of a patient that has a disease with a mortality potentially of 70%,” Dr. Maria Frank, a recipient of the vaccine, said. “We want to be able to help if necessary, and you know, a lot of people in the U.S. feel inclined to go when something happens, so we may deploy health care workers to actually help during an outbreak.”
Both Lenz and Frank said it will give them peace of mind. They hope the vaccine brings medicine to a new era, one with more treatment and less tragedy.
“It’s exciting to be a part of this next step in treating this disease,” Lenz said.
“It feels like we’re doing our part,” Frank said.
As for how long the Ebola vaccine lasts, Frank said right now it’s just one dose. The vaccine they received, Ervebo, is only available to frontline workers who may be at risk of being exposed to the virus.
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