The interim director of Africa’s leading public health body hopes that affluent nations would not hoard vaccines during the current monkeypox outbreak, as they did with COVID-19 vaccines.
Monkeypox, a minor viral illness, is prevalent among some indigenous groups in 11 African nations, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nigeria.
More than 200 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus have been found in at least 19 countries, predominantly in Europe, since early May.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated this weekend that it expects to find more cases of monkeypox as it extends surveillance in places where the illness is uncommon.
On Thursday, Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting head of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a weekly news briefing that “Vaccines should go to where it is needed the most and equitably, so based on risk, and not on who can be able to buy it.”
“We’re working with all our member states on the continent to step up surveillance for monkeypox,” he added.
Monkeypox vaccinations are not currently available, however the smallpox vaccine has been demonstrated to provide up to 85% protection against the disease.
Ouma added that available smallpox vaccination supplies will be prioritized for health personnel and places with proven incidences of the virus.
“The prioritisation is first health workers who are in the front line, and then the affected communities where the outbreaks are first characterised, before contemplating the general public,” he explained.
“We do not have yet enough stocks to be able to go into the general public.”
- In U.S. and Europe, Cases of Monkeypox Have Been Reported
- No Need For Mass Monkeypox vaccination — S. Africa Experts
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES