There has been no update of monkeypox vaccines from the Indian Ministry of Health. However, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said recently that his company is in talks with the North Danish Bavarian company to import a small batch of vaccines.
“In the case of cooperation, it may take two to three months to import the vaccine into the country,” Poonawala was quoted as saying in an interview with NDTV news channel.
Monkeypox vaccines now circulating
While India has not yet recommended or established guidelines for the monkeypox vaccination, several other countries have started procuring vaccines for the same. Smallpox vaccines are said to be effective against monkeypox as well.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), JYNNEOS is a specific vaccine to prevent smallpox and monkeypox in adults 18 years of age and older who are at increased risk of monkeypox infection.
JYNNEOS is manufactured by the North Bavarian Danish company. Currently, this is the only FDA-approved vaccine to prevent monkeypox. It is a two-dose vaccine (0.5 ml each) to be taken for four weeks. Subjects are considered fully vaccinated about two weeks after their second shot of JYNNEOS.
The Food and Drug Administration notes that “vaccinating with JYNNEOS may not protect all recipients.” In 2019, the health agency said, “JYNEOS will be available to those who have been shown to be at risk of developing smallpox or monkeypox.”
The World Health Organization said two other vaccines, LC16 and ACAM2000, are being studied for use against monkeypox. ACAM2000 is a vaccine “licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for use against smallpox; permitted for use against monkeypox under the Expanded Access IND, which requires informed consent with additional forms submitted,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Moreover, there is only one antiviral treatment authorized in the European Union – Tecovirimat – the European Medicines Agency. It is also authorized to treat smallpox and cowpox.
Monkeypox vaccination in India
India was declared free of smallpox in the late 1970s, after which it stopped manufacturing vaccines and children born after that were not given with it. This puts millennials and generations after them at greater risk.
“Currently, the original (first generation) smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general public,” the WHO said.
Experts believe that mass vaccination is not required. A World Health Organization official stressed that mass vaccination is not necessary, but the World Health Organization has recommended post-exposure vaccination.
“The vaccine should be shared according to public health needs, country by country, and location by location,” Dr. Rosamund Lewis, WHO technical official on monkeypox, was quoted as saying.
Dr. Lewis said universal vaccination is not required, but the World Health Organization has recommended post-exposure vaccination. “Vaccine sharing should be done according to public health needs, country by country, and location by location. And not all regions have the same epidemiology,” she explained.
(Edited by: Akrit Anand)
First posted: IST