Congolese authorities plan to introduce second Ebola vaccine in mid-October, World Health Organization said Monday, while MSF has accused WHO of "rationing" the first vaccine in the DRC where an epidemic haemorrhagic fever has already caused some 2,100 deaths in more than a year.
"The health authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have announced their intention to introduce a second experimental Ebola vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, from mid-October," WHO said in a statement.
The UN specialized agency said the vaccine, which requires two to 56-day administration, will be given to targeted at-risk populations in areas where there is no active transmission of the vaccine. Ebola virus.
"The DRC authorities, in deciding to deploy the second experimental vaccine (...) have once again demonstrated leadership and determination to end this epidemic as soon as possible," said the director general of the DRC. WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, quoted in a statement.
Declared on August 1, 2018, the 10th Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak on Congolese soil killed more than 2,100 people.
Last July, WHO raised the Ebola threat to the rank of "public health emergency of international concern".
So far, only the experimental vaccine manufactured by Merck, considered "very effective and safe" by the WHO, had been used by the DRC. Former Congolese health minister Oly Ilunga resigned on July 22, denouncing attempts to introduce a second vaccine "by actors who have demonstrated a manifest lack of ethics."
The former minister of health has since been charged with alleged "misappropriation" of funds allocated to the fight against Ebola, and placed under house arrest in Kinshasa.
To date, more than 223,000 people have received this vaccine during the current outbreak. It will continue to be administered to all people at high risk of Ebola infection, including those who have been in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have Ebola.
Contact contacts of people infected with the virus are also vaccinated, according to the so-called principle of "ring vaccination", detailed WHO.
In May, WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts issued new recommendations to address the challenges of implementing Ebola vaccination in the DRC, including the introduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Johnson.
The Belgian laboratory Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of the American Johnson & Johnson, then told the Belgian press that he was ready to send doses of the vaccine in very large quantities.
© 2019 AFP