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|Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, announced only persons considered to be high-risk would be eligible for the monkeypox vaccine.
Anthony said, “The criteria to administer the vaccine would be that the person must have been exposed, and be at high risk for getting monkeypox”
If someone is at high-risk, meaning that you would have been in close contact with somebody who has monkeypox, then your chances of getting monkeypox would be quite high, it is being advised.
Anthony informed “they are two types of monkeypox virus: namely, Clade I and Clade II. The clinical picture may not be very different. However, with Clade II, we have observed that mortality is higher. Generally, all the signs and symptoms are the same.”
Guyana is expected to receive its first set of ‘Imvamune’ vaccines for the viral infection by the end of September from Canada, through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). ‘Imvamune’ protects against orthopoxvirus infections such as monkeypox and smallpox. It is a modified vaccine and the Ministry of Health has assured they will be working to see how protective it is against monkeypox.
It has been advised that not unlike the COVID-19 vaccine, there may be some temporary side-effects to the monkeypox vaccine and these include swelling or redness at the vaccination site, headaches and some muscle pain.
Guyanese are being urged to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves against the virus.
Key Facts on monkeypox as provided by World Health Organisation (WHO)
· Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox
· Monkeypox is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
· Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%.
· Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
· Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
· Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.
· An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.
· The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
· Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.