The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday began its Ebola vaccination program, a day after a nurse in the northwestern town of Bikoro died.
The vaccine, which has not yet been licensed, went through human trials in a 2016 research conducted in Guinea.
The healthcare workers were the first to receive the immunisation as they are directly or indirectly in contact with infected patients, said the DRC government.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the 7,500 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine is set to be used in the northwestern province, where 46 suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola cases and 26 deaths have been reported (as of May 18).
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, stated that vaccination is vital in managing the outbreak.
“Vaccination will be key to controlling this outbreak. We are grateful for the support of our partners in making this possible,” he said.
WHO indicates that the vaccine was quite successful in Guinea in 2015, when no cases of Ebola were recorded nine days or more after 5,837 were immunised.
The vaccine is awaiting review by relevant regulatory authorities.
Apart from the immunisation campaign, other efforts to control the outbreak have been launched. President Laurent Kabila on Saturday increased Ebola Emergency funds to more than $4 million.
Together with his cabinet, he also approved the provision of free healthcare services in the affected areas and specialised care to survivors and their families.