Only high-risk persons eligible for monkeypox vaccine

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, today said, only persons considered to be high-risk would be eligible for the monkeypox vaccine.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, M.P

Guyana is expected to receive its first set of ‘Imvamune’ vaccines for the viral infection by the end of September from Canada, through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

‘Imvamune’ protects against orthopoxvirus infections such as monkeypox and smallpox.

Speaking during his COVID-19 update, Dr Anthony explained that persons who have been exposed to the virus will be the first to be vaccinated.

If someone is at high-risk, meaning that you would have been in close contact with somebody who has monkeypox, then your chances of getting monkeypox would be quite high.

“The criteria to administer the vaccine would be that the person must have been exposed, and be at high risk for getting monkeypox,” Minister Anthony said.

Symptoms of the virus include rashes or lesions on the skin

The health minister said Imvamune is a modified vaccine and the health ministry will be working to see how protective it is against monkeypox.

He said similar to the COVID-19 vaccine, there may be some temporary side-effects to the monkeypox vaccine. These include swelling or redness at the vaccination site, headaches and some muscle pain.

He also explained that there are two types of monkeypox virus: namely, Clade I and Clade II.

“The clinical picture may not be very different. However, with Clade II, we have observed that mortality is higher. Generally, all the signs and symptoms are the same,” he explained.

He urged persons to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against the virus.

Currently, there are roughly 45,000 monkeypox cases and 13 deaths 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.