Only high-risk, exposed persons will receive monkeypox vaccines
With a limited amount of monkeypox vaccines available worldwide, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony on Thursday said that the vaccines secured will be given to persons who have a high risk of infection.
During his daily COVID-19 update, the Health Minister said although the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccines to treat monkeypox are not here yet, Guyana will follow recommended measures to only vaccinate persons who are exposed to the virus.
“One of the things that have been recommended in the countries that have started using the vaccine is to determine the person’s risk,” the minister explained.
“What they have recommended is not to give it as a pre-exposure, prophylactic vaccine, meaning you give it before someone has been exposed, but rather you give it as a post-exposure vaccine,” Dr. Anthony said.
He explained that in determining whether someone is a high risk case, the person has to have been exposed to lesions which can spread the infection.
“If someone is at high risk meaning you would have been in close contact with somebody who has monkeypox, you have been touching the lesions you are not wearing protective gear then obviously your chances of getting monkeypox is quite high.
“These lesions that you have on your skin they can break, they have some liquids inside so if you have been touching that and whatever your chances are going to be very high,” Dr. Anthony explained.
“In this current outbreak of monkeypox we are seeing it being spread among people who have sexual contact, so if a person has sex with someone who has or had monkeypox that persons is at high risk and therefore eligible to be given the vaccine,” he added.
In addition, Dr. Anthony said the 57-year-old man who is Guyana’s first monkeypox case has provided persons for contract tracing to be done and monitor them.
“All the contacts he has given us we have been working with those contacts and they have been in quarantine and all the suitable measures have been made,” Dr. Anthony said.
He reminded that the virus can only spread through extremely close contact. He added that this outbreak has had some fatalities, but that it is a milder version of the virus and for this reason he advises against panic.