To counter the current Ebola outbreak, health authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo will introduce a Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine in November in the country's eastern provinces.
The J&J vaccine will complement another vaccine manufactured by Merck, which has been administered to more than 225,000 people and has been proven highly effective and safe, and has since helped protect thousands of lives.
The Merck 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, all contacts of contacts, and others determined to be at high risk of contracting Ebola. This procedure is called 'ring strategy'.
The J&J vaccine requires two injections eight weeks apart, unlike the Merck vaccine, which requires a single shot.
"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 in September.
A first batch of 500,000 doses of the J&J vaccine should arrive in Congo next week, the authorities said in a statement. The inoculation process will start in Goma in early November and then be extended to other provinces.
Congolese health authorities had announced the deployment of the vaccine last month, but had not specified when the campaign will take place.Since it first started in August 2018, the Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,100 people, second only to the 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300.