Scientists do not know how effective monkeypox vaccines are, effectively making every recipient part of an ongoing clinical trial.
The head of the World Health Organization’s infectious hazards preparedness agency, Tim Nguyen, said monkeypox vaccines have not been used on a large scale before so they do not know how effective the vaccines will be.
“I would like to underline one thing that is very important to WHO,” Nguyen said Saturday. “We do have uncertainty around the effectiveness of these vaccines because they haven’t been used in this context and in this scale before.”
The scientist added that “when these vaccines are being delivered, they are delivered in the context of clinical trial studies and prospectively collecting this data to increase our understanding of the effectiveness of these vaccines.”
Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with similar symptoms to smallpox but less severe, according to the WHO. While smallpox was eliminated in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in countries of central and West Africa. It is a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans.
“Most reported cases so far have been identified through sexual health or other health services in primary or secondary health-care facilities and have involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men,” the international health organization stated.
WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, overruled a WHO advisory panel and declared monkeypox a global health emergency — the agency’s highest alert level. WHO last declared such an emergency in early 2020 concerning COVID-19.
The health agency noted that, since monkeypox is similar to smallpox, individuals previously vaccinated against smallpox are less likely to contract the new disease. WHO claims that smallpox vaccines appeared to be 85 percent effective against monkeypox, and those who do get it experience milder symptoms.
So far this year, there have been more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox in more than 75 countries and five deaths in Africa, according to a report in The Epoch Times.
In declaring the emergency, Ghebreyesus noted, “for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among” homosexuals and “especially those with multiple sexual partners.”
Many of the U.S. monkeypox cases are located in New York City, according to officials.
Last week, the CDC confirmed monkeypox in children in two separate states, according to the report, which noted officials have not determined how the children contracted the virus.