Brazil’s Minister of Health Marcelo Queiroga explained that the 50 thousand doses of the monkeypox vaccine requested by Brazil from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) will be directed at health professionals dealing with contaminated materials.
“If these 50 thousand doses arrive here at the ministry tomorrow, they’ll not have the power to change the natural history of the epidemiological situation of monkeypox. When these shots are here, they’ll be used to vaccinate a very specific public.”
For the moment, Queiroga does not consider declaring a public health emergency of national importance for the disease. The ministry’s staff, he said, has not taken a position in this regard.
Health surveillance mechanisms have been reinforced, he added, requests for registration for rapid tests have been filed with the country’s drug authority Anvisa, and further measures may be taken outside the scope of the health emergency if necessary.
In attendance at the minister’s Monday (Aug 15) presser, PAHO’s representative in Brazil Socorro Gross said the talks with the laboratory producing the vaccine are over, but its position on the delivery schedule is pending.
“We hope to have the vaccine calendar this week,” she stated. “We have no [delivery] schedule to unveil at this time. We know some of the vaccines will arrive soon. We expect the supplier to specify when we will be able to transport the shots to Brazil,” she said.
The acquisition of these vaccines had to be arranged through PAHO, since the laboratory responsible for them is located in Denmark and has no representatives in Brazil. Therefore, the laboratory cannot request the registration of the inoculation with Anvisa, and, if the country wants to buy it, PAHO must intermediate the transaction.
At the press conference, the Ministry of Health updated the data on the disease, now reported in 92 countries. In Brazil, 2,893 cases have been confirmed so far, plus 3,555 suspected cases and one death.
Despite its name, Queiroga noted, the disease is not transmitted by monkeys. The minister made an appeal not to attack these animals over fear of the disease. “Monkeypox is a zoonosis and the rodent is its likely source, not the monkey. The monkeys are as much victims of the disease as we, who are also primates, are. So don’t go around killing monkeys thinking you’re going to solve the monkeypox problem.”
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