Some Pinoys might already have protection vs monkeypox

Shiela Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Some Pinoys might already have protection vs monkeypox
A woman and her child, both infected with monkeypox await treatment at the quarantine of the centre of the International medical NGO Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans frontieres - MSF), in Zomea Kaka, in the Lobaya region, in the Central African Republic on October 18, 2018. Monkeypox is a contagious disease, without remedy, which heals itself, but who can kill if not treated in time. Since May 2018, the monkeypox virus, which spreads in tropical Africa, has become a "public health threat" in the Central African Republic, according to the Pasteur Institute of Bangui.
AFP / Charles Bouessel

MANILA, Philippines — People aged 42 years and above may still have protection against monkeypox if they were given anti-smallpox vaccines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said yesterday.

According to Duque, the country was doing mass vaccination against smallpox until the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the disease “eradicated” in 1980.

“The vaccines against smallpox have cross protection. This means they also give protection against cowpox, monkeypox and chicken pox because they are related with each other,” he said in a radio interview.

He noted, though, that the anti-smallpox immunization was stopped when smallpox was eradicated four decades ago.

“So those 42 years and younger, we are looking for vaccines for them. We are coordinating with the WHO to determine where we can get the vaccine immediately,” he added.?Currently, the availability of the vaccine is “very limited” with the United States having them in their stockpiles. The jabs are for the use of their military personnel and staff.

Duque said aside from vaccines, the DOH is also exploring the possibility of procuring antivirals against monkeypox.

“We are also coordinating with WHO on this because as much as we want to secure big supplies, antivirals are not yet available,” he added.


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