Monkeypox jab priority mooted

September 16, 2022

The scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection have suggested that individuals at high risk of exposure should be included as a target group for pre-exposure vaccination against monkeypox with the highest priority on a voluntary basis.


This group includes gay, bisexual and other men having sex with men (MMS) with certain high-risk sexual practices or a history of sexually transmitted infection within the past 12 months.


The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging & Zoonotic Diseases today updated the consensus interim recommendations on the use of monkeypox vaccines in the city.


At an online meeting convened yesterday, the experts revisited the target groups for pre-exposure vaccination and practical issues in relation to the use of the monkeypox vaccine.


They noted that the latest global epidemiology of monkeypox showed the dominant affected group was MSM who have multiple sexual partners, and that there were practical challenges to identify and reach sexual contacts in this group via contact tracing for post-exposure vaccination.


In making the updated recommendations, the experts had reviewed the latest monkeypox epidemiology and scientific evidence as well as recommendations by the World Health Organization and overseas health authorities, and took the local context into account.


Other target groups for pre-exposure vaccination, in order of priority, could include other high-risk groups in the community such as sex workers, participants in group sex or people having multiple sexual partners, healthcare workers tending to confirmed monkeypox patients and laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses.


Next in line could be staff responsible for decontamination of environments contaminated by confirmed cases following case-by-case assessment, and animal care personnel with a high risk of exposure in case of monkeypox occurrence in animals in the city.


The experts also recommended the third-generation vaccine for use in adults at this juncture. Post-exposure vaccination for people aged under 18 with high-risk exposure should be offered in emergency situations on a case-by-case basis, following a careful evaluation of the risks and benefits.


They also pointed out that vaccination should be given on a voluntary basis rather than being mandatory.


Click here for details of the recommendations.

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