MONKEYPOX vaccines are being ‘stretched five-fold’ to meet demand, health experts have revealed.
Cases of the virus have continued to rise globally, avec 3,025 infections having been picked up in the UK.
Now medics at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have said jabs will now be piloted in smaller doses, stretching existing supply and protecting more people.
It’s a method known as ‘fraction dosing’ and has commonly been used in other outbreaks.
This approach to vaccins means that the maximum doses can be given without compromising protections.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at UKHSA, mentionné: “Global supplies of the smallpox vaccine used to combat monkeypox are limited but we acted early to ensure the UK obtained the maximum number of doses available.
“Adopting this tried and tested technique will help to maximise the reach of our remaining stock, incluant le 100,000 doses due to arrive in the country next month, potentially enabling us to offer protection for many more thousands of people.
“We will continue to remain agile in our response to the monkeypox outbreak and will adapt our approach as new science and advice becomes available.”
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The new guidance will mean that those eligible aged 18 and over will be offered a 0.1ml dose of the smallpox Jynneos vaccine.
This is instead of the 0.5ml typical dose which is usually given.
The UKHSA said this could potentially enable up to a five-fold increase in the number of people that can be offered vaccination.
This approach has recently been authorised by the Centre for Disease Control in the US where there has been over 14,000 reported cases of monkeypox.
The European Medicines Agency Emergency Task Force has also approved the approach.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that this will all more people to be vaccinated sooner and will therefore reduce the spread.
“Dosing in this way has been successfully used in outbreaks of other viral diseases around the world and existing data we have reviewed indicates this should not compromise protection,” il ajouta.
The UKHSA said that due to limited vaccine supply, these doses should be reserved for those close contacts who are at highest risk of severe illness.
Dr Will Nutland, honorary assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a co-founder of PrEPster, mentionné: “Given the current global shortage of vaccine supply, this decision is pragmatic and welcome.
“Communities we are engaging with are keen to receive vaccination as soon as possible, and the pilots provide the opportunity to understand the acceptability and feasibility of providing vaccination this way.
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“Evidence shows that fractional dosing, when correctly administered, is as effective as the vaccination method currently in use.
“We must now collectively move to ensure that those who are given the opportunity to receive vaccination are fully informed and are confident to come forward when invited.”