Germany has ordered 40,000 doses of a Bavarian Nordic vaccine to be ready to vaccinate people infected with the monkeypox if an outbreak becomes more serious in Germany, but officials are currently banning other precautionary measures.
Speaking at a news conference, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Tuesday that measures such as a 21-day isolation period for infected people would now be enough to control the outbreak.
“If the infection spreads further, we want to be prepared for a possible ring vaccination that is not yet recommended, but may be necessary,” Lauterbach said, referring to an infected person’s contact vaccination strategy.
He said the outbreak of monkeypox could be contained and did not signal the beginning of a new epidemic, adding that early intervention could prevent the pathogen from becoming firmly established in the community.
So far, five cases have been registered in Germany, all men, Lothar Willer, head of the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases in Germany, also spoke at the press conference.
A World Health Organization (WHO) official issued a similar guideline on Monday, saying there was no need for mass vaccinations for outbreaks because measures such as hygiene and safe sex practices would help control the spread.
The WHO has registered more than 250 confirmed and suspected monkeypox infections, with a geographical spread that is endemic in some parts of West and Central Africa but uncommon elsewhere. Many but not all cases have been reported of people having sex with men, especially WHO targets sexually transmitted infections.
U.S. health officials said this week that there are more than 1,000 doses of the Bavarian Nordic vaccine in the national stockpile and they expect that levels to rise very quickly in the coming weeks.
The vaccine is known as Zinnos in the United States where it is approved for use against smallpox and monkeypox. It is also approved for smallpox in Europe, where it is called imvenex, but in the case of monkeypox it is provided for off-label use.
The Danish company said last week that it had struck a deal with an undisclosed European country to supply Imvenex in response to a new MonkeyPix lawsuit.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)