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As monkeypox spread, U.S begins nationwide vaccination campaign

As a response to rising outbreaks of monkeypox, the United States has commenced a national strategy to provide vaccination against monkeypox for individuals at higher risk of exposure.

The Biden administration announced in a statement Tuesday on the official White House website.

It noted that states will receive doses of the Jynneos, a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for protection against smallpox and monkeypox in individuals 18 years and older.

The doses will be distributed based on the number of cases and the proportion of the population at risk of the severe disease to slow its spread.

It further noted that the Department of Health and Human Services will immediately allocate doses of the Jynneos vaccine from the national stockpile and an additional 240,000 doses in the coming weeks.

Another 750,000 doses to be made available over the summer, 500,000 doses will undergo completion, inspection, and release throughout the fall, totaling 1.6 million doses available by the end of this year.

Available monkeypox vaccines

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier recommended smallpox vaccines as a remedy for monkeypox infection because it demonstrated through several observational studies to be about 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox.

While the WHO is yet to give enough details on moneypox vaccination, the Biden-administration also approved the use of ACAM2000, to supplement the supply of Jynneos.

“ACAM2000 is FDA-approved for protection against smallpox, caused by the variola virus.

“ACAM2000 is also believed to confer protection against monkeypox, and is available under an expanded access investigational new drug protocol sponsored by CDC for vaccination of individuals at risk of monkeypox infection,” it noted

However, it is believed that ACAM2000, is associated with serious side effects than Jynneos and cannot be provided to individuals who are immunocompromised or who have heart disease.

“The CDC will work with state, territorial, and local health departments requesting the ACAM2000 vaccine to ensure that individuals are fully informed on the benefits and the risks before receiving the vaccine,” it added.

Similarly, the European Union disclosed Tuesday that it is adopting a similar plan, sending 5,300 of its 100,000 Jynneos doses to Spain, which has the most cases, followed by Portugal, Germany and Belgium.

Global statistics

The latest Monkeypox update by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that from January to June 22, 2022, 50 countries across five regions have reported a cumulative total of 3,413 confirmed cases with over 90 per cent recorded in non-endemic countries.

According to the data, the WHO European Region topped the infection with 2,933 cases, representing 86 per cent of the total cases, followed by the Region of the Americas with 381, of which the US recorded 142 cases.

The African Region came third on the log with 73 cases, representing 2 per cent of the global cases reported from six countries, with Nigeria topping the list.

Nigeria is followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Ghana, Cameroon, and Congo.

Combating monkeypox globally

On global response to the monkeypox outbreak, the statement read: “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to combatting monkeypox in the United States and around the world, including in countries where it has been historically endemic.

“The United States has also supported international efforts to combat monkeypox in endemic countries for years, including in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is dedicated to assisting endemic and non-endemic countries combat their outbreaks and is exploring options to further support the international response.

It added that the administration has been responding to the outbreak since the first domestic case was identified with “urgency, humility, and transparency”.

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