NEWS

Pox Vax Soon

 Smallpox vaccines will be procured as part of preparedness measure, There is no record of monkeypox in Fiji, Dr James Fong reiterated
21 Jun 2022 17:03
Pox Vax Soon

 

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is in talks with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to procure smallpox vaccines.

This has been done in a bid to safeguard the country from monkeypox.

A WHO report released last Friday stated that second-generation and third-generation smallpox vaccines have been developed to have an improved safety profile and one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox.

There is no record of monkeypox in Fiji, Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong reiterated.

However, as a precautionary measure to safeguard from the disease, which has hit neighbouring countries like Australia, the ministry is acting on cause for alert rather than alarm.

Dr Fong said this preventative measure was to help ease the burden of fighting the disease.

“We want to stockpile and make sure that we have a stock with us,” Dr Fong said.

“And hopefully we just get access to that. Just a small amount to tide us over and keep us in a state of preparedness,” he said.

“We should not fall into the idea that we can protect ourselves from the disease.

“I’m hoping that once we gain a bit more traction, that ability to self-diagnose or to self-suspect, it will become more ingrained within the community.

“The only unfortunate thing is that there is some data coming out that there are some atypical cases that happen.

“They have symptoms that are not typical and that will pose some difficult challenges in terms of early diagnosis.”

 

Border Control

Dr Fong said the ministry had a surveillance programme for the borders to monitor people who may likely carry the disease.

Smallpox vaccine has been approved for prevention of monkeypox in Canada and the United States of America.

Smallpox vaccines have been clinically proven to be 85 per cent effective against monkeypox, according to a Harvard University report.

Meanwhile, smallpox, once a deadly disease which plagued the world killing millions was eradicated in 1980, according to WHO.

WHO launched an intensified plan to eradicate smallpox in 1967. Widespread immunisation and surveillance were conducted around the world for several years. The last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977.

Feedback:  josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj

 



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