Monkeypox: Europe’s red alert, nations told to prepare vaccine strategies

EU authorities are set to publish a risk assessment, which will advise all member states to draw up an inoculation strategy to control the spread of the tropical virus, Daily Mail reported.

AgenciesUpdated: Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 12:03 AM IST
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Monkeypox: Europe’s red alert, nations told to prepare vaccine strategies | File Photo

European countries will be told to prepare a vaccination plan to tackle the spiralling monkeypox outbreak, as Denmark became the latest country to be struck down.

EU authorities are set to publish a risk assessment, which will advise all member states to draw up an inoculation strategy to control the spread of the tropical virus, Daily Mail reported.

No monkeypox-specific vaccine exists but smallpox jabs, which were routinely offered to Brits until the virus was eradicated four decades ago, are 85 per cent effective.

The strategy likely to be recommended is the same already deployed in Britain. Officials were attempting to contain the spread by vaccinating all close contacts of the 20 confirmed monkeypox cases, including health workers.

The strategy, called ring vaccination, involves jabbing and monitoring anyone around an infected person to form a buffer of immune people to limit the disease’s spread.

It comes as experts warn nations could bring in travel restrictions to control the spread of the illness, if the World Health Organisation (WHO) declares the outbreak an emergency.

But the vaccine, called Imvanex and made by Denmark-based drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, has not been authorised for use against monkeypox in Europe or the UK, Daily Mail reported.

The European Medicines Agency approved the jab for use against smallpox in 2013, while the US Food and Drug Administration greenlit the injection for both infections in 2019.

Meanwhile, there is no data available on how safe it is for immunocompromised people or youngsters – the groups at highest risk from the outbreak.

It comes as WHO bosses had been informed of 92 confirmed cases by Saturday and 28 suspected infections, most of which have been detected in Europe.

But the true toll will be many times higher, with top scientists warning community transmission means some of the spread is inevitably going undetected, Daily Mail reported. A disproportionate number of cases are in gay and bisexual men.

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