Jun 8, 2022 - Health

WHO does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox

Medical syringes and a bottle are seen with 'Monkeypox' sign.

Medical syringes and a bottle are seen with 'Monkeypox' sign. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Wednesday it does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox, as global cases of the virus surpass 1,000.

Why it matters: Some countries have started to use smallpox vaccines to protect those exposed to monkeypox, and the U.S. has been shipping vaccines to multiple states to prevent the spread of the virus.

Countries with vaccine supply should use it "to protect those who may be exposed" to monkeypox, such as health workers and laboratory personnel, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said during Wednesday's briefing.

  • Countries should also consider post-exposure vaccinations for higher-risk close contacts of those who were previously exposed to monkeypox, including sexual partners, family members in the same household and health care workers, he noted.

Zoom out: The United States has already started shipping drugs and vaccines to at least eight different states to fight monkeypox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last Friday.

  • The government has delivered 1,200 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, which can help prevent smallpox and monkeypox, to those states.
  • One state, which was not identified, asked for the ACAM2000 vaccine, which is distributed post-exposure, the CDC said.

What they said: "We want to offer vaccines to people who've had high-risk contact with infected individuals to help prevent more onward transmission of the virus," Raj Panjabi, the White House's senior director for global health security and biodefense, told reporters during the CDC briefing.

  • "We want to ensure that people with high-risk exposures have rapid access to vaccines and, if they become sick, can receive appropriate treatment," he added.

What we're watching: The WHO said Wednesday that it will develop a coordination plan to distribute supplies for treatment and vaccination "based on public health needs and fairness."

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