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Second Ebola vaccine to be introduced in Congo, WHO says


A second Ebola vaccine has been given the “green light," and will be used in the Democratic Republic of Congo beginning mid-October, the World Health Organization announced Monday.

Produced by Johnson & Johnson, the two-course vaccine will be used alongside the current Ebola vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV-GP, which is manufactured by Merck.

“Under approved protocols,” the new experimental vaccine will given to people in two doses 56 days apart “in areas that do not have active Ebola transmission as an additional tool to extend protection against the virus,” a statement from the WHO said.

Merck’s vaccine, however, will continue to be administered in those that are determined “at high-risk” of contracting Ebola. This includes those who have been in direct contact with a person who has contracted the virus, “contacts of contacts," and others that officials determine to be at high-risk.

“The evaluation of the second Ebola vaccine will help ensure that we have potentially an additional tool to prevent the expansion of the outbreak and also a potential tool to protect populations before outbreaks hit areas at risk,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa.

Since the outbreak began in August 2018, more than 223,000 people have been vaccinated for Ebola, the WHO said.

According to the WHO, there have been around 2,000 deaths since the outbreak began.

In mid-July, Congo’s outbreak of Ebola was declared a global health emergency.