Variole simienne: l’OMS s’inquiète pour le partage des vaccins

Monkey pox: WHO concerned about vaccine sharing – Journal of Le Jade de Cuisineville

The World Health Organization has said it will create a new vaccine-sharing mechanism to curb the spread of monkeypox in more than 30 countries outside Africa. The move could lead to the United Nations health agency distributing rare doses of the vaccine to rich countries that could afford them.

For some health experts, the initiative will likely miss the opportunity to control the monkeypox virus in African countries where it has been infecting people for decades, once again illustrating the inequality in vaccine distribution observed during the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization is developing an initiative for “equitable access” to vaccines and treatments, and hopes to have it ready within weeks. The mechanism was proposed shortly after Britain, Canada, France, Germany, the United States and other countries reported hundreds of monkeypox cases last month.

The World Health Organization described the outbreak as “extraordinary” and said the continued spread of the virus was worrisome enough to convene a panel of experts next week to decide whether monkeypox should be declared a global emergency.

Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are believed to be approximately 85% effective against monkeypox. WHO Europe director Dr Hans Kluge said on Wednesday he was concerned about some wealthy countries scrambling to buy more vaccines, let alone some for Africa.

Dr Kluge urged governments to “treat monkeypox without repeating the mistakes of the epidemic”. However, he did not rule out the possibility that countries such as Britain, which is currently experiencing the largest spread outside Africa, could receive vaccines through the WHO mechanism.

He said that the program is being established for all countries and vaccines will be widely distributed according to their epidemiological needs.

“Europe remains the epicenter of this growing epidemic, with 25 countries reporting more than 1,500 cases, or 85% of the global total,” Dr. Kluge noted.

Some African experts have questioned why the UN health agency has never offered to use vaccines in Central and West Africa, where the disease is endemic.

“The place to start any vaccine should be in Africa and nowhere else,” said Dr. Ahmed Oguil, acting director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He added that the lack of vaccines against monkeypox on the continent, where more than 1,500 suspected cases and 72 deaths have been reported this year, was of greater concern than the mainly mild disease clusters reported in wealthy countries.

“This is an extension of the injustice we have seen during COVID,” said Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Nigeria Health Watch. “From 2017 to now, we have hundreds of monkeypox cases in Nigeria and are dealing with them on our own,” he said. “No one has discussed when there might be vaccines available for Africa.”

After the coronavirus pandemic erupted in 2020, global health agencies scrambled to create COVAX, a UN-backed effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. But rich countries bought most of the world’s supplies, and the COVAX program failed in many goals of sharing doses with the world’s poor.

So far, only about 17% of people in poor countries have received a dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Some experts fear that the same could happen with monkeypox.

«Tout comme avec la COVID, il n’y a pas de voie claire pour savoir comment les pays les plus pauvres pourront obtenir des vaccins», a déclaré Brook Baker, professeur de droit à la Northeastern University qui se spécialise dans l’accès Drugs.

He warned that while the World Health Organization is trying to limit the number of doses of the vaccine available, rich countries that previously pledged doses may not cooperate.

Mr. Baker predicted that “rich countries will protect themselves while people in the South die.”

On Monday, the human rights group ‘Public Citizen’ sent a letter to the White House, asking whether the Biden administration would release the 20 million smallpox vaccines the United States promised in 2004 for emergency use by the World Health Organization. Like a biological attack.

Asked about the pledge, a senior US official said the government was “considering all options” to continue its efforts to reduce monkeypox in the United States and around the world.

The official said the United States has returned more than 200,000 doses of the smallpox vaccine to the manufacturer to make them available to others. The official declined to say whether the United States views the current outbreak of monkeypox as an emergency that calls for the release of 20 million promised vaccines.

Francois Balloux, an infectious disease expert at University College London, said vaccination efforts in rich countries should prompt a rethink of future response strategies for monkeypox in Africa.

“Vaccinating people in Africa should really be a priority, as there is a much deadlier strain that has already killed people,” he said, adding that more effects from monkeypox were likely.

“Whatever vaccination is done in Europe will not solve the problem,” Ballox said.

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