Following the detection of a fifth case of Monkeypox, Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla says there is no need for South Africans to vaccinate as yet.
The fifth case was detected this week and the patient is from Johannesburg and has travelled to the Netherlands and Spain.
NO NEED TO VACCINATE FOR MONKEYPOX AS YET
Phaahla held a media briefing on Friday, 19 August and revealed that there is no specific vaccine for Monkeypox in South Africa.
There are currently 3 main vaccines in use worldwide for the prevention of Monkeypox disease. These are ACAM2000, Jynneos also branded as Imvanex in the European Union, and the third one is LC16m8 vaccine and none of them are registered in SA.
Phaahla said Monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox.
He added that South Africa stopped smallpox vaccinations around 1982 when the global vaccination campaign came to an end due to the successful eradication of smallpox.
“Since then, there have been no smallpox vaccines offered to the general population and smallpox vaccines have not been included in the Expanded Program on Immunisation in South Africa. However most people over 40 years of age will have some immunity to Monkeypox from their Smallpox vaccinations.”
There have not been any applications made to register any Smallpox or Monkeypox vaccines yet in South Africa.
LATEST SITUATION REPORT BY WHO
According to the Situation Report produced by the World Health Organisation a total of 27 814 cases and 11 deaths have been reported from 89 countries/areas/territories across all six WHO Regions since January 2022.
The scientists have reportedly advised that at the current moment, there is no need for mass vaccination because the situation is under control.
This is in line with the WHO recommending against mass vaccination of general populations with Monkeypox vaccines at this point in time based on limited access and supply of available vaccines and because most people are not at risk of infection.
However, Port health officials continue with screening measures which include visual observation, temperature screening and analysis of travellers’ health questionnaires at the ports of entry (airports, border gates and sea ports).