Burundi has this week commenced an ebola vaccination campaign to help protect healthcare and other front-line workers against the disease. While no cases of ebola have been reported in the country to date, the campaign is part of Burundi’s preparation for a possible outbreak.
It has received doses of the ebola vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV) to provide protection against the Zairian strain of the virus, which is the strain currently affecting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). While this vaccine is not yet approved and its commercial use is not yet authorised, it has been shown to be effective and safe during ebola outbreaks in West Africa.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the vaccine will be administered to front-line staff working in priority areas where there is a risk of transmission such as health workers, laboratory staff, and surveillance teams.
"The vaccination of health and front-line staff is a significant step forward in preparing for the response to this disease," said Dr Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Burundi.