Congo starts giving Ebola vaccine to some babies

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BWERA, Uganda (AP) Health officials in eastern Congo are vaccinating some pregnant women and infants against Ebola for the first time since the outbreak was declared in August.

More than 1,400 people have now died from Ebola, and an experimental vaccine produced by Merck has provided a high degree of protection.

More than 130,000 people have received the vaccine in Congo and Uganda, which reported its first Ebola cases this week. Two were children.

On Thursday, health workers in Congo's town of Beni began vaccinating pregnant women who have passed the first trimester and are considered contacts of an Ebola case.

Breastfeeding babies are also being given the vaccine if they have been exposed to the virus.

Doctors had been concerned about the potential harm because the vaccine has not been tested in those groups.

That guidance has been reevaluated in light of the worsening outbreak and the high rate of fatalities among pregnant women and children.