DR Congo to deploy second Ebola vaccine

The new vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, will complement efforts by the first vaccine which has been administered to over 225,000 patients in the DR Congo since August 2018./ WHO

Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday said they plan to introduce a second Ebola vaccine in the country to bolster the fight against the disease.

They did not however disclose when the vaccine would be introduced.

The new vaccine has been manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, and is set to complement efforts by the first vaccine which has been administered to more than 225,000 patients in the country since August 2018.

The Ebola response team in a statement assured DR Congo citizens that the vaccine is safe for use, having already been trialled in neighbouring Uganda and the West African country of Guinea.

“It is a vaccine that other countries already use. Why can’t we use it in Congo to protect our population?” the statement said.

The statement said the health officials intended to begin administering the J&J vaccine on traders who cross into Rwanda and residents of the province neighbouring the epicenter of the outbreak “to create a corridor of immunised people”.

The current Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo has killed more than 2,100 people since the middle of last year, and is considered the country’s largest ever outbreak.

The Wold Health Organisation (WHO) in July declared the Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, calling for more measures to curb its spread.

Countries around DR Congo have taken measures to stop possible spillovers of the disease into their borders.