On the same day that the European Union announced the purchase of more than 100,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine, the World Health Organization recommended vaccination of at-risk contacts and health professionals or technicians diagnosing the disease. That position has been incorporated into interim guidance on vaccination strategies released on Tuesday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that mass vaccination of the entire population is not recommended for monkeypox outbreaks.monkeypox or VMPX). Surveillance and containment are priorities for WHO, which also points to the need for enhanced contact tracing and surveillance of confirmed cases.
In countries where the disease is not endemic, confirmed cases surpassed 1,500 on Tuesday, with Portugal reaching 231, still the country with the most confirmed cases per million inhabitants.
As for a vaccination strategy that has not yet been proposed in Portugal, WHO recommends that contacts of confirmed or suspected cases be vaccinated with second or third generation vaccines – up to 4 days after exposure (up to 14 days if no symptoms develop). ).
In these cases, the level of risk also varies by type of exposure. The World Health Organization states that high- or intermediate-risk contacts should be vaccinated after exposure. Moderate media exposure includes proximity within the same physical space without the need to wear appropriate protective equipment. High-risk exposure presupposes inhalation of droplets or dust from a contaminated site, direct physical contact, cohabitation, or contact with contaminated materials (such as towels, objects, or clothing).
For healthcare professionals or VMPX diagnostic laboratories, vaccination is recommended as a precautionary measure for all individuals who may be at risk of exposure. “People who may be at risk in this outbreak are health care facility and laboratory personnel who work with this virus family or diagnose infections,” the WHO said.
In the event of contact with a confirmed or suspected case, there are priority groups for VMPX vaccine: children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals. These risk groups, as defined by the World Health Organization, are more likely than others to develop severe disease. However, despite this, prophylactic vaccination is not recommended in these cases – only after contact with a case.
A day after Portugal announced its first VMPX case, the European Centre for Disease Control has acknowledged the possibility of vaccinating high-risk contacts, a strategy now recommended (and expanded) by WHO. Unlike the Directorate-General of Health, national authorities in other European countries have issued directives for VMPX vaccination, and Canada, Spain, the United States, France or the United Kingdom have already started vaccinating at-risk contacts and professionals. healthy.