Ebola vaccinations begin in North Kivu

Nurses working with the World Health Organization prepare to administer vaccines in May, 2018. AFP PHOTO | JUNIOR KANNAH

Ebola vaccinations have begun in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the Ministry of Public Health the vaccinations will target high risk populations.

The provincial health minister and provincial coordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunization were the first to be vaccinated, followed by first line health workers from the Mangina Health Centre, who had been in contact with people confirmed to have Ebola.

“Vaccines are an important tool in the fight against Ebola. This is why it has been a priority to move them rapidly into place to begin protecting our health workers and the affected population,” said Dr Oly Ilunga, the country’s Minister for Health.

Following a second outbreak of Ebola this year in the DR Congo, a total of 44 cases have been reported so far, with 17 of them confirmed.

According to a statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO), a total of 3,220 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine are currently available in the DR Congo, while supplementary doses have been requested.

“The Democratic Republic of the Congo has once again demonstrated strong leadership in its early response to this outbreak,” said WHO Director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Ebola is aggressive. We must respond more aggressively. Beginning the vaccination so quickly is a key early step.”

This is the tenth outbreak of Ebola reported in the Central African country.