Rwanda launches voluntary Ebola vaccination campaign

Rwandan Minister of Health Diane Gashumba welcomes a delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the coordinator of Ebola response in the DR Congo, Jean-Jacques Muyembe and the Deputy Governor of the Northern Province of Kivu, to launch the Ebola Vaccination campaign in Rubavu district. COURTESY: TWITTER/Rwanda Ministry of Health

The Rwandan government on Sunday officially launched a voluntary Ebola vaccination campaign at La Grande Barrière’s no man’s land in Rubavu district as a means to prevent the spread of the virus from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda’s Health minister Diane Gashumba said the motive was to protect those with high chances of getting in contact with people living in areas where Ebola has been reported to be active.

Rwanda’s Ministry of Health said that the vaccine will be given to everyone two years old and above who will volunteer to be the beneficiaries of the preventive vaccine. The vaccine will be administered in two injections.

The ministry added that an estimated 200,000 Ebola vaccine regimens will be administered to people who frequently cross the border and to those living in Rubavu.

Rubavu district in Rwanda’s Western Province lies just across the border from the city of Goma in the DR Congo’s North Kivu province.

The vaccine, Ad26-ZEBOV-GP, a new one developed by US group Johnson & Johnson, was first administered, mid last month in Goma.

Also present at the launch were the Coordinator of Ebola Response in the DR Congo Jean-Jacques Muyembe and the World Health Organisation’s representative in Rwanda Kasonde Mwinga.

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Rwanda so far.

The current Ebola epidemic, the second worst in history, has killed more than 2,200 people since it first broke out in August 2018.