Wealthier countries have already requested millions of vaccines to fight monkeypox, better known as monkeypox, but none have reported sharing doses with Africa, where the virus is spreading faster.
“The mistakes we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic are already being repeated,” said Bogoma Kapisin Tetanji, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University, quoted by The Associated Press.
Since May, there have been more than 21,000 cases of monkeypox in 80 countries.
And Africa recorded 75 deaths caused by this virus, especially in Nigeria and Congo.
This Friday, Brazil and Spain also reported smallpox-related deaths, the first case reported outside the African continent.
Portugal has a total of 633 confirmed cases of monkeypox, 45 in the past week, according to data from the Directorate General of Health (DGS), indicating that 82.6% of cases were reported in the Lisbon health region. and the Tagus Valley.
“African countries, which have been dealing with smallpox outbreaks for decades, have become a footnote in conversations about the global response,” Kapisin Titanji lamented.
Scientists argue that, unlike with COVID-19, mass vaccination campaigns against monkeypox would not be necessary.
Thus, the targeted use of the available doses, along with other protective measures, can control the epidemic, which has already been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global emergency.
The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already called for this continent to be prioritized when it comes to vaccines, noting that it has once again been left behind.
“If we’re not safe, the rest of the world won’t be,” said Ahmed Oguil, the CDC’s in-house director for Africa.
The World Health Organization is developing a mechanism to share vaccines with the most affected countries, but details are not yet known.
In turn, the United Nations said that vaccines will be made available according to the epidemiological need.
Sharmila Shetty, an MSF vaccine consultant, defended “just asking countries to participate is not enough”, adding that the higher the circulation, the more likely the virus could enter animal reservoirs or spread through the population.
“If that happens, vaccine needs could change dramatically,” he said.
According to the AP, at the moment there is only one producer of the most advanced vaccine against Monkeypox, the Danish company Bavarian Nordic, which this year has a production capacity of about 30 million doses.
In May, the northern Bavarian region asked the US to give up 215,000 doses to “help international orders”, a recommendation to which the country responded.
The United States held a batch of 13 million vaccines, of which 1.4 million were delivered.
“I never thought this virus would spread that much, given that monkeypox doesn’t spread like Covid,” said Salem Abdulkarim, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
For this specialist, Africa should get some vaccinations, but priority should be given to diagnosis and monitoring.
Ingrid Katz, a global health specialist at Harvard University, cautioned that it is necessary to “be vigilant with prevention strategies and rapid response.”
In Spain, the demand already far exceeds the available supply.
“There is a gap between the number of vaccines we have and the people who can benefit from them,” said Pep Cole, medical director of a health center in Barcelona.
Monkeypox virus (VMPX) was detected in Portugal on May 3, with laboratory confirmation of five cases, and since then until last Wednesday, 633 cases have been identified.
According to the DGS weekly report, all regions of mainland Portugal and Madeira have reported human cases of VMPX, the north being the second region in the country with the most reported cases of monkeypox virus (66), followed by center (11). ), Alentejo, Algarve (seven) and Madeira (three), refer to weekly information from the Health Authority.
According to the DGS, of the set of cases reported in the epidemiological surveillance system, most belong to the age group between 30 and 39 years, the vast majority of infections (99.6%) are men, with two cases (0.4%) female.
On July 16, vaccination of the first three close contacts of the cases began, and since then, eligible contacts in different regions of the country are still being identified and directed for immunization, the Directorate General of Food has informed.
As of July 27, 59 people in the country who had close contact with the cases have been vaccinated.
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