Gov’t to secure monkeypox vaccine by end of September

Government has placed an order with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to ensure Guyana receives a portion of the monkeypox vaccine by the end of September.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said the government is making significant efforts, although the supply of the vaccine is limited worldwide.

“The supply of these vaccines is very limited and it’s a very scarce commodity right now in the world but nevertheless, we are trying to get some doses into Guyana for persons who might be exposed,” the minister said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the same that causes smallpox.

Symptoms of the viral infection are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. It is not related to chickenpox.

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox infections.

Government seeking to secure monkeypox vaccine by September

Minister Anthony explained how persons could become infected and how they could stay clear of the virus.

“In terms of the human-to-human contact, that can be done in two ways, what we might call a direct contact, meaning that if you are in close proximity with someone who has been infected then you can get the virus.

“And then you have indirect contact, they found that monkeypox can be on surfaces so if someone who has monkeypox, in a ward for example, they’re infected and you go without having on gloves, and you touch those surfaces, the chances are you can come in contact with the virus,” Dr Anthony noted.  

Studies have shown that with most persons who are infected, the effects start to wear off within 14-21 days. Persons can still develop complications because of secondary bacterial infections.

While having monkeypox the persons may have other bacterial invasions of the already infected areas, resulting in an additional disease.

Minister Anthony stressed the need for Guyanese to take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting the virus. Currently, the spread of the monkeypox is diverse, since there are about 45,000 cases globally in some 96 countries.

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.