Burundi has started vaccinating its health workers against Ebola as it makes efforts to prevent the spread of the disease into its territory.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday that the vaccination is happening near Burundi’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Burundi has not reported of any Ebola cases but does not want to taken by surprise.
The Health ministry in Burundi launched vaccination exercise at the Gatumba border crossing point on Tuesday.
The Merck’s rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine is being used for this exercise.
In a statement the WHO said “Although this vaccine is not yet approved and its commercial use is not yet authorized, it has been shown to be effective and safe during Ebola outbreaks in West Africa”.
“The vaccine is used for humanitarian purposes to protect people most at risk of an Ebola outbreak. It will be administered to health and front-line staff working in priority areas where there is a risk of transmission.”
No cases of #Ebola have been reported in #Burundi, but preparation remains crucial to rapidly respond to a potential threat. Amongst other measures & supported by @WHO & @gavi, Burundi kicked off a vaccination campaign for health & frontline workers at potentially at-risk areas. pic.twitter.com/1binm9Nqfn
— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) August 14, 2019
Last week a trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine started in Uganda as efforts continue to prevent spread of the virus there as well.
The MVA-BN vaccine is being used in Uganda and was developed by Johnson&Johnson. That trial will last for two years, Uganda’s Medical Research Council (MRC) said.
Uganda is Ebola-free though but in June three people from one family died in that country after crossing back from Congo.
The WHO has now declared the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a public health emergency of international concern.
The disease that has killed more than 1,800 people in DR Congo.