Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have announced plans to introduce a second experimental Ebola vaccine from mid- October.
This vaccine, which is given as a two-dose course, 56 days apart, will be provided under approved protocols, to targeted at-risk populations in areas that do not have active Ebola transmission, as an additional tool to extend protection against the virus.
The new Johnson & Johnson vaccine will complement the current vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV-GP, Merck), which has proven highly effective and safe, helping protect thousands of lives, said the World Health Organization (WHO).
The rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine will continue to be provided to all people at high risk of Ebola infection including those who have been in contact with a person confirmed to have Ebola. To date, over 223,000 people have received this vaccination during the current outbreak.
“The DRC authorities, in deciding to deploy the second experimental vaccine to extend protection against this deadly virus, have once again shown leadership and their determination to end this outbreak as soon as possible,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recently urged scaling up of Ebola vaccination and called for an independent committee to be formed to manage Ebola vaccination programmes.