Washington: The World Health Organization does not see an immediate need for mass vaccination against monkeypox, WHO technical lead on the issue Rosamund Lewis said on Monday.
“Mass vaccination is not recommended for monkeypox response. There is no reason to support that at the moment, and it is not looking like it is going to change in the immediate future,” Lewis said in a virtual conversation with The Washington Post.
She underscored the need to prioritize vaccine distribution and other countermeasures, along with access to testing. “We need to prioritize based on public health needs. The same goals for the global level and for the national level,” she added.
Lewis called on governments to provide vaccines and medical aid to people who are already at high risk.
In July, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.
Most people usually recover from monkeypox within a few weeks without treatment. The symptoms are initially flu-like, such as fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes, which are then followed by a widespread rash.
According to the WHO, the disease can be more severe in young children, pregnant women, and individuals who are immunocompromised.
The monkeypox virus is not easily transmitted and usually spreads through close physical contact, including sexual contact, with an infected individual.
The virus can enter a human body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, eyes, nose, and mouth, and via bodily fluids. Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease. It originates in animals like rodents and primates and occurs in remote parts of Central and West Africa.
Over 31,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported worldwide across more than 70 countries, and 12 deaths have been attributed to the disease.