WORLD Readiness urged for monkeypox vaccines

WORLD

Readiness urged for monkeypox vaccines

China Daily

13:27, June 18, 2022

An employee of the vaccine company Bavarian Nordic works in a laboratory of the company in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, May 24, 2022. The company, headquartered in Denmark, is the only one in the world to have approval for a smallpox vaccine called Jynneos in the US and Imvanex in Europe, which is also effective against monkeypox. [Photo/Agencies]

As monkeypox continues to spread across the globe, the World Health Organization has expressed commitment to ramp up support for Africa to urgently increase testing capacity for the viral disease.

The United Nations agency said it is in the process of procuring thousands of tests for the continent.

At a virtual news conference on Thursday, Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said there are nearly 1,900 confirmed monkeypox cases in 39 countries worldwide, and eight African countries have reported cases.

Ghana and Morocco, which have not previously recorded cases of monkeypox, now have five and one confirmed cases respectively, Moeti said.

There have been 36 confirmed cases in Nigeria, 10 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, eight in the Central African Republic, three each in Benin and Cameroon, and two in the Republic of the Congo.

Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda-all countries with no previous incidence-have also reported suspected cases.

Regarding vaccination against monkeypox, Moeti said though the WHO does not recommend mass vaccination at this stage, Africa needs to be "ready should the need arise".

The WHO has said that it would convene its emergency committee next week to advise whether the current spread of monkeypox in nonendemic countries constitutes an international public health emergency.

Moeti said even though global stocks are extremely limited currently, the WHO is working closely with member states and partners on a coordination mechanism to ensure fair access to both vaccines and treatment.

She said one of the newer and safer smallpox vaccines has been approved for the prevention of monkeypox.

"Although we are certainly not recommending mass vaccination at this stage, we must ensure that we are ready should the need arise," she said.

Ahmed Ouma, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed that Africa has yet to receive vaccines to manage monkeypox, but said they are engaging with the WHO on the issue.

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