The WHO wants to create a participatory mechanism for the monkeypox vaccine

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

Some experts criticize that this only happens when rich countries are affected by the virus. Vaccination should be encouraged especially in African countries where the virus is long-term endemic.

The World Health Organization is preparing a process to share smallpox vaccines. This is to stop the outbreak of a virus that is endemic in some African countries outside Africa, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday. It is an initiative for “fair access” to vaccines and treatments, which should be launched in the coming weeks.

The sharing mechanism was designed after hundreds of monkeypox cases occurred in Europe and North America – especially in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada and the USA. The established smallpox vaccine is estimated to be 85 percent effective against monkeypox. WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge on Wednesday expressed concern that rich countries were buying vaccines without talking about their supplies to Africa.

Kluge called on governments not to repeat the mistakes of the coronavirus pandemic in their fight against smallpox. “Europe is the epicenter of the epidemic, with 25 countries reporting more than 1,500 cases, or 85 percent of the world’s,” he said. It is not against the UK, for example, receiving vaccines from the participatory mechanism. The program is for all countries and should distribute vaccines mainly according to their epidemiological needs.

African experts have complained that the WHO has never proposed the use of the smallpox vaccine in Central and West African countries where the virus is endemic. “The place to start a vaccination campaign should be in Africa and not elsewhere,” said the executive director of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Ahmed Ogwell. Vaccine shortages in Africa, with 1,500 suspected cases and 72 smallpox deaths this year, are a bigger problem than mostly mild disease in rich countries.

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

(jma / dpa)

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