Second Ebola vaccine to be used in DR Congo next month

KINSHASA (AFP) – Doctors will use a second Ebola vaccine from November in three eastern provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to fight the deadly virus, medical officials said last Sunday.

“It’s time to use the new Ad26-ZEBOV-GP vaccine, manufactured by Johnson and Johnson’s Belgian subsidiary,” said Dr Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who leads the national anti-Ebola operation in the DRC.

It will arrive in the eastern city of Goma, in North Kivu province, on October 18 and be used from the beginning of next month, he added.

DRC’s latest Ebola epidemic, which began in August 2018, has killed 2,144 people, making it the second deadliest outbreak of the virus, after the West Africa pandemic of 2014-2016.

Muyembe said the communes of Majingo and Kahembe had been selected to receive the vaccine as they were considered the epicentres of the epidemic.

“We will extend this vaccination to our small traders who often go to Rwanda to protect our neighbours,” he added.

“If it works well, we will expand vaccination in South Kivu and Ituri.”

DR Congo’s eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu sit on the borders with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

The Belgian laboratory will send a batch of 200,000 doses to neighbouring Rwanda and 500,000 doses in the DRC, Muyembe said.