By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BERLIN (Worthy News) – Germany’s vaccine advisory committee wants gay men with multiple male partners and other “at risk” adults to receive monkeypox jabs after authorities ordered 40,000 doses of the Bavarian Nordic vaccine.
The committee known as STIKO said besides sexually active gay men, authorities should also recommend the vaccine to infectious disease lab workers.
They are among the main groups of people over 18 years old who the committee advises vaccinating soon amid spreading cases of the disease in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach suggested that current measures such as an isolation period of at least 21 days recommended for infected people may not be enough.
“If infections spread further, we will want to be prepared for possible ring vaccinations that are not yet recommended at this point but might become necessary,” Lauterbach stressed.
He referred to the strategy of vaccinating contacts of an infected person. However, STIKO made clear that Germany, like other countries, may soon see another wave of jabs in a population still recovering from recent COVID-19 pandemic measures such as forced vaccinations in several cases.
HUNDREDS OF CASES
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has registered more than 250 confirmed and suspected monkeypox infections, including in Germany. It cautioned that the geographic spread is unusual for the disease, which is endemic in parts of west and central Africa but rare elsewhere.
Many but not all of the cases have been reported in men who have sex with men, with the WHO watching sexual transmission in particular.
U.S. health officials said there are more than 1,000 doses of the Bavarian Nordic vaccine in the national stockpile and they expect that level to increase very quickly in the coming weeks.
The vaccine is branded Jynneos in the United States, where it is approved against smallpox and monkeypox.
It is also allowed for smallpox in Europe, where it is called Imvanex, but has been provided for off-label use in response to monkeypox cases.
The Danish company has said it secured a contract with an undisclosed European country to supply Imvanex in response to new cases of monkeypox.
Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. People with more severe illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other body parts.
Most infected persons recover within about two to four weeks without needing hospitalization.
Yet monkeypox can be fatal for up to 6 percent of cases and is thought to be more severe in children, experts say.
Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals like rodents and primates and occasionally jumps to people. It belongs to the same virus family as smallpox.
Most human cases have been in parts of Africa, and outbreaks have been relatively limited.
The first known human infection was in 1970 in a young boy in a remote part of Congo.
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