WHO wants to create a participatory mechanism for the monkeypox vaccine

“Fair access”
WHO wants to create a participatory mechanism for the monkeypox vaccine

Some experts criticize that this only happens when rich countries are hit by the virus. Vaccination should be promoted especially in African countries where the virus has been endemic for some time.

The World Health Organization is preparing a procedure to share vaccines against monkeypox. This is meant to stop the outbreak of the virus, which is endemic in some African countries beyond Africa, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. This is an “equal access” initiative to vaccines and treatments that is expected to become operational in the coming weeks.

The sharing mechanism was proposed after hundreds of monkeypox cases emerged in Europe and North America, particularly the UK, Germany, France, Canada and the United States. The established smallpox vaccine is believed to be about 85% effective against monkeypox. On Wednesday, WHO Director for Europe Hans Kluge expressed concern that rich countries were buying vaccines rather than supplying them to Africa.

Kluge has called on governments not to repeat the mistakes of the crown pandemic in their fight against monkeypox. “Europe is the epicenter of the epidemic with 25 countries reporting more than 1,500 cases, 85% of the global total,” he said. He is not against Britain, for example, which receives vaccines from the participation mechanism. The program is for all countries and should distribute vaccines largely based on their epidemiological needs.

African experts complained that the WHO had never proposed the use of the monkeypox vaccine in Central and West African countries where the virus is endemic. “The place to start a vaccination campaign should be in Africa and nowhere else,” said Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention Executive Director Dr. Ahmed Ogwell. The lack of vaccines in Africa, where 1,500 suspected cases and 72 deaths from monkeypox have occurred this year, is a greater concern than the mostly mild disease trajectories in rich countries.

“This is an extension of the inequality that we saw during Covid (-19),” said Nigeria Health Watch Director Dr. Ifeany Nsofor. “We have had hundreds of monkeypox cases in Nigeria since 2017 and we are dealing with it ourselves.” No one has ever discussed when vaccines might be available for Africa.

(jma / dpa)

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