The United States provides vaccines for some people exposed to monkeypox. Here’s what you should know

Monkeypox vaccines are now available to some health care workers who treat infected people.

“I am happy to report that, even with the first case in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital, our colleagues across the government were able to get the vaccines for this hospital. And only yesterday they started providing vaccines to health care workers who were exposed,” Dr. Raj Panjabi, who is leading the White House response against monkeypox, told CNN reporter Laura Coats Monday night.

“The first part is identifying the infected, isolating them and making sure they get the care they need,” Punjabi said. “The second part is ensuring that those who have been exposed to infected individuals are vaccinated. If we do that over and over again — and this is our approach in the White House and across the government — then we have a better chance of ending this outbreak.”

A senior Biden administration official said Tuesday that, in general, vaccination can be offered to small groups of people who have been exposed to a symptomatic monkeypox patient — but this is not a group vaccination effort.

In the United States, the Jynneos vaccine, given in two doses four weeks apart, is licensed to prevent smallpox and monkeypox in adults.

“Because monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from monkeypox,” says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. “Monkeypox and smallpox vaccines are effective in protecting people from monkeypox when given before exposure to monkeypox. Experts also believe that vaccination after exposure to monkeypox may help prevent the disease or make it less severe.”

Scientists have known for years that smallpox vaccines can be effective in preventing monkeypox, too. The smallpox virus that causes smallpox and the monkeypox virus belong to the same family.

Dr. said. Amish Adalja, a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

But don’t expect a large-scale release of vaccines.

“I think we will need to use vaccines in contacts of cases. This is not something where everyone is lined up and vaccinated,” Adalja said of the current outbreak. “This will be critical to stopping the cases.”

What vaccines can work against monkeypox?

The senior administration official said Tuesday that there is enough vaccine to cover the current level of cases in the United States.

“Currently, we have more than 1,000 doses of [Jynneos] available, and we expect that level to rise very quickly in the coming weeks as the company makes more doses available to us,” Dr. Zoonoses Infectious Diseases, on Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, based on data from Africa.

Another vaccine, called ACAM2000, has been licensed in the United States to prevent smallpox. Although the vaccine can be used to prevent monkeypox, it is not licensed to do so.

The United States has more than 100 million doses of ACAM 2000, McCuston said.

“ACAM2000 is an older generation smallpox vaccine and it has some potentially significant side effects with it,” she said. “So the decision to use that on a large scale has to have some serious discussion behind it.”

ACAM2000 is a live virus vaccine – and once the injection is given, an infection will appear at that site. Because the virus grows at the site of infection, it can spread to other parts of the body or even to other people, according to the CDC, which is why people infected with ACAM2000 should “take precautions” to prevent the spread.

By comparison, the Jynneos vaccine is given as a live virus that does not reproduce. This means that there is no visible “taking” and, as a result, there is no risk of the virus spreading, according to the CDC. Some common side effects of the vaccine include pain at the injection site, muscle aches, and headache or tiredness.

Who should be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Most people will not be vaccinated against monkeypox. Depends on direct exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted last year to recommend vaccination for select groups at risk for monkeypox and other related viruses because of their occupation. This could include those working in research laboratories and health care workers, for example, who treat infected people.

Amid the global outbreak, WHO officials plan to make recommendations on who should prioritize receiving a smallpox vaccination to reduce the risk of contracting it.

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“We will make recommendations on who should have priority for this,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO head of emerging and zoonotic diseases and technical lead for Covid-19. Q&A on social media Monday.

“It’s not something everyone needs,” Van Kerkhove said. “It’s a virus that spreads between people who are in close contact with infected people.” “We really need to discuss the evidence-based use of these measures, access, and equality.”

Andy Seal, WHO’s director of strategies for the management of HIV, hepatitis and STD programs, added that vaccinations should be considered for monkeypox-endemic countries, which are in West and Central Africa.

“Communities are already telling us, if we get this right, if we contain this, if we get proper access to the outbreak, we have to do it for endemic countries as well,” Sell said.

Can a person be vaccinated after being exposed to monkeypox?

According to the CDC, vaccination after exposure to the monkeypox virus can provide some protection.

“That’s the norm,” Adalja said. “Normally we don’t vaccinate everyone beforehand. We use vaccination as a post-exposure prophylaxis.”

“Because monkeypox has a long incubation period, just like smallpox – it’s 12 days or so, on average, for monkeypox – you can step in with a vaccine in an exposed person, and it will abort the infection,” he said. “Or if you get infected, maybe you get to them later or really late in the incubation period, that makes the infection less severe.”

But the sooner an infected person gets vaccinated, the better. The CDC recommends that the vaccine be given within four days of exposure to prevent disease. If given between four and 14 days after exposure, vaccination may reduce symptoms but may not prevent the disease itself.

In general, people who have been exposed to monkeypox virus and have not had the vaccine within the past three years should consider getting vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Is vaccination against smallpox protects from monkeypox?

Adalja said there may be some “leftover” protection against monkeypox for adults who were vaccinated against smallpox as children, but it may not be complete protection.

“The smallpox vaccination program ended in the 1970s in the United States,” Adalja said. “Obviously if someone was in the U.S. military and was vaccinated last year, I’m sure they are fully protected.” “But people who were vaccinated as children in the era when smallpox was a routine childhood vaccination, they may have some residual immunity.”

The senior Biden administration official said on Tuesday that, in theory, there is some protection offered from a previous smallpox vaccination, but there is no good evidence of how much protection — and that protection could wane over time.

Has the monkeypox virus changed with this outbreak?

The official said that nothing seemed to have changed about the biology of the monkeypox virus and that the chances of catching it were still very low for the general public.

WHO officials found no evidence that monkeypox virus mutated or mutated in this outbreak. Therefore, there is no evidence to suggest that licensed vaccines will not work against the currently circulating virus.

“It’s a very stable virus. So we don’t have evidence yet of a mutation in the virus,” Rosamund Lewis, head of the Smallpox Secretariat in the WHO’s own emergency program, said during a question-and-answer session on Monday.

“We’re starting to collect that information,” Lewis added. “We will convene our groups of virologists and other experts who will discuss this particular question based on the genome sequencing of some of the cases that are discovered.”

Dr. said. Daniel Rhodes, co-chair of the Microbiology Committee of the American College of Pathologists.

“Has something changed with biology, or is this just an unusual situation that hasn’t happened before or that we haven’t recognized before? I think anytime there is a change in the geography of these endemic diseases, that’s a key question,” said Rhodes, a biologist. Diseases at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio.

“When we see a new infection or an infection transmitted in a way that seems new, I always wonder, is this just something we didn’t recognize before that has always been there? Or is this an actual biological change, which would be due to a mutation in the virus?” Rhodes said.

“I suspect that once the virus that caused the current outbreak is sequenced, they will be able to compare it to known sequences, and then hopefully we can have some insight into whether or not this is kind of the same type of ancient monkeypox as if something looks different.”

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