The Congolese medical authorities say they have received the first shipment of a new Ebola vaccine as the central African country battles its second deadliest outbreak of the virus this decade.
A preliminary batch of 11,000 doses of the new Ad26-ZEBOV-GP vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson arrived on Friday, according to the health ministry for the eastern province of North Kivu.
In all, a shipment of a total 50,000 doses is being sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help fight an outbreak that has killed more than 2,100 people since August 2018.
Until now, the only vaccine against the disease was one manufactured by US firm Merck Sharpe and Dohme.
The DRC’s deadliest Ebola outbreak since the West Africa pandemic in 2014-2016 has affected the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri and left 2,183 people dead, according to the latest official figures.
Since the start of the vaccination campaign on August 8, 2018, a total 245,999 people have been vaccinated.
Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the new head of the anti-Ebola campaign, said the J&J vaccine would be used from mid-November with the operation being launched simultaneously in DR Congo and Rwanda.