Imvanex vaccine to be used for monkeypox Health Ministry recommend

Committee recommends targeted use of Imvanex Vaccine for health care workers

The Imvanex vaccine can be used to protect high-risk groups against monkeypox, the health ministry said on Monday following Friday’s meeting of the vaccination committee.

The committee recommended that the vaccine be available for targeted use in specific high risk groups such as healthcare professionals called upon to manage possible suspected or confirmed cases, and close contacts of a confirmed case, after exposure.

No monkeypox cases have been recorded in Cyprus but the health ministry last week approved health protocols to manage a possible outbreak.

These are in line with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines advising quick identification (such as tests), management, contact tracing and reporting of monkeypox positives.

According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Imvanex vaccine is used to protect against smallpox in adults. It contains a live modified form of the vaccinia virus called ‘vaccinia Ankara’, which is related to the smallpox virus.

The EMA said the vaccine, which needs to be administered in two doses, is also effective against the monkeypox, adding its efficacy currently stands at 85 per cent.

Confirmed cases who did not preventively administer the Imvanex vaccine are recommended to get jabbed four days after exposure, the health ministry said.

Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1980 with the last known case of the disease occurring in 1977.

The symptoms of monkeypox, which is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, include fever, headache, muscle pains, shivering, backache, and fatigue.

Typically, there are swollen lymph nodes behind the ear, below the jaw, in the neck or in the groin. This is followed by a rash that forms blisters and crusts, most frequently in the mouth, on the face, hands and feet, genitals and eyes. The duration of symptoms is typically two to four weeks.

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