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WHO insists monkeypox vaccination is not right for everyone — MercoPress

WHO insists monkeypox vaccination is not right for everyone

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 – 09:36 UTC


First-generation vaccines held in national stockpiles ‘do not meet current safety and manufacturing standards’, says WHO report

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday insisted on its recommendation not to vaccinate en masse against monkeypox, despite the recent increase in the number of cases.

“Mass vaccination is neither necessary nor recommended at this time,” said a WHO assessment report, which also said epidemic control relies primarily on surveillance, isolation of new cases and contact tracing of those affected.

However, concern has increased in non-endemic countries. In this scenario, the European Union (EU) has decided to purchase 110,000 doses of vaccine. Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, and is spread through close contact.

The WHO has pointed out that vaccines against conventional smallpox (a disease eradicated worldwide in the late 1970s) could be effective in protecting against monkeypox, but some data are still lacking and global supply is limited following the eradication of the disease about 40 years ago.

The global agency also said it would convene an emergency committee on June 23 to decide whether to declare an international emergency for the current monkeypox outbreak, with 1,600 confirmed cases and 1,500 more under investigation at both endemic (Africa) and non-endemic (Europe and the Americas).

But the vaccines recommended for monkeypox today are different from those used in the past. “Some countries have maintained strategic supplies of former smallpox vaccines from the Smallpox Eradication Program (SEP) which ended in 1980,” WHO’s interim guidance on smallpox vaccination said. of the monkey published on Tuesday.

“These first-generation vaccines held on national stockpiles are not recommended for monkeypox at this time, as they do not meet current safety and manufacturing standards,” the document continues.

The WHO also said it was working with scientists to come up with a new name for the monkeypox virus that will not be “discriminatory and stigmatizing”. Chief Executive Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Tuesday that the organization was “working with partners and experts around the world to change the name of the monkeypox virus, its clades and the disease it causes.” The agency is consulting with experts in orthopoxviruses – the family to which monkeypox belongs – to come up with a suitable name, it has been reported. Tedros said the announcement of the new name would be made as soon as possible.

The initiative came after more than 30 scientists wrote last week that there was an “urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing nomenclature for monkeypox virus” that is “aligned with best infectious disease naming practices in a way that minimizes unnecessary negative impacts on nations, geographies, economies and people and takes into account the evolution and spread of the virus.

A “nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but also discriminatory and stigmatizing,” they said while encouraging authorities “to adopt a neutral and principled naming scheme.”

“We believe this new classification will be easily adopted and is supported by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and we are in advanced discussion with the WHO,” they added.

The health agency is also holding an emergency meeting next week to determine whether to classify the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.