The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it is adapting its Ebola vaccination strategy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help address vaccination challenges.
It comes as the latest data show the number of cases of Ebola has exceeded 1,600 and the number of deaths has breached the 1,000 mark.
The WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) issued new recommendations on vaccination against Ebola this week, including expanding the population eligible for vaccination with rVSV-ZEBOV-GP to those who could be part of tertiary chains of transmission, such as people in villages where cases have been reported within the past 21 days. SAGE also recommended reducing the dose of the vaccine by half (0.5 mL) in at-risk individuals and to 0.2 mL for the general population.
The Group is also recommending the introduction of an additional experimental vaccine for individuals at a lower risk. It said the adenovirus 26 vectored glycoprotein/MVA-BN (Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN) vaccine, developed by Johnson & Johnson, is being considered and a coalition is at an advanced stage towards the deployment and assessment of this vaccine.
The recommendations also include redoubling ongoing efforts to train health professionals from Ebola-affected communities to work on vaccination teams.