What is Happening with the Monkeypox Vaccines in Latin America?

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Currently, There is Only one Supplier of the Monkeypox Vaccine. However, PAHO has Already Begun Negotiations so that the Americas Region has Fair Access to Supplies.

Monkeypox vaccine

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

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Leer en español: ¿Qué está pasando con las vacunas contra la viruela símica en Latinoamérica?

If there is something that can generate fear and anxiety in humanity, it is to return to the confinement that was experienced two years ago with the appearance of the coronavirus. Today, that reality seems inconceivable, taking into account the social and public health problems that the pandemic brought.

However, the reappearance and spread of monkeypox has been alerting international health institutions, since, according to the World Health Organization, more than thirty-seven thousand infections have already been registered on the planet. Although the situation is not as serious as it was with COVID-19, it is important that nations begin to treat these cases responsibly and manage existing vaccines to avoid massive infections.

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What is monkeypox?

It is a zoonotic viral disease that is caused by the monkeypox virus. This disease appeared for the first time in 1958 in a laboratory in Denmark in a study done on monkeys. Subsequently, in 1970, the first case of infection in humans emerged in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then spread to other parts of the world.

Likewise, the symptoms of this viral infection can be mild to severe, depending on the response of each organism. Its duration has an average of three weeks. However, the most common signs are fever, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain, and skin rashes. Although a vaccine was created to treat this disease in the last century, vaccination plans were suspended because the virus had been eradicated.

How are the cases in Latin America and the vaccination plans?

In 24 Latin American countries, more than ten thousand cases of monkeypox have already been reported. This means that the region currently has 38% of the total infections worldwide.

Taking into account the socioeconomic situation of the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization approved a resolution on August 5 in its Directing Council specifying fair support so that several countries in the region can have equitable access to vaccine, especially for higher-risk populations.

"We believe that when the recommended measures are applied properly, we can stop the transmission of the monkeypox virus," PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne said on her official website.

What this new step against monkeypox represents is a new commitment that the international entity is implementing with the Member States, whose purpose is to avoid the social and public health collapse that the least developed countries experienced during the current pandemic.

What is included in the vaccination plan proposed by PAHO?

The resolution approved on August 5 basically seeks a coordinated strategic plan between PAHO itself and the Member States, where a series of objectives are sought, such as:

  • Risk communication.
  • Participation of affected communities.
  • Early detection and surveillance.
  • Treatment.
  • Isolation of patients.
  • Contact tracking.

Currently, there is only one producer of the monkeypox vaccine and for this reason dose supplies are severely limited. However, the international organization has taken a step forward in this situation and has begun the first negotiations to offer equitable access in the region, prioritizing specific groups.