Smallpox Vaccines Effective Against Monkeypox, Says Health Minister

Diana Mariska
Monkeypox illustration (Photo: Antara)
Monkeypox illustration (Photo: Antara) - Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said vaccines for smallpox can also protect against monkeypox as Indonesia braces for a potential outbreak in the country.

Sadikin said since monkeypox and smallpox viruses belong to the same genus, individuals who have received smallpox vaccines have also developed immunity against monkeypox.

“Monkeypox [virus] belongs to the same genus to that of smallpox. And I have told the experts that those of us who were vaccinated against smallpox in the 1970s, like me and other older citizens, have developed immunity. Also, smallpox vaccine is different from COVID-19 vaccine whose effectiveness decreases in six months,” Sadikin said on Tuesday, July 26, as reported by Antara.

He added that the vaccine offers lifetime protection, and recipients are more protected than those who haven’t been vaccinated.

Besides accelerating vaccine rollout, the Ministry is now focusing on surveillance and health protocol implementation to prevent the outbreak from happening in Indonesia. It also continues to ensure the availability of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests as well as medicines.

The Ministry confirmed it has distributed 500 PCR reagent units for monkeypox to entry points, including airports and seaports – and is currently working to procure more units for all provinces across Indonesia.

While vaccine for monkeypox is currently unavailable in Indonesia, Sadikin said the Ministry will instead focus on ensuring the availability of medicines to treat infected patients.

On July 23, WHO announced the ongoing monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern, and it reported that over 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 75 countries.

According to WHO, the monkeypox virus can be transmitted from infected animals to humans via direct or indirect contact.

“Human-to-human transmission can occur through direct contact with infectious skin or lesions, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, and respiratory droplets,” the organization said.

“In the current outbreak countries and amongst the reported monkeypox cases, transmission appears to be occurring primarily through close physical contact, including sexual contact. Transmission can also occur from contaminated materials such as linens, bedding, electronics, clothing, that have infectious skin particles.”

Tag # monkeypox outbreak # monkeypox in indonesia # monkeypox vaccine # smallpox vaccine # budi gunadi sadikin # viral disease # world health organization # public health

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