Geneva, 29 July 2022 – The escalating global monkeypox outbreak has affected over 18,000 people in 78 countries, across all World Health Organization (WHO) regions. This unprecedented spread has led the WHO Director-General to declare the escalating outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
In non-endemic countries, the vast number of cases have occurred in men who have sex with men. In addition to traditional public health methods of contact tracing, treatment and testing, many high-income countries are providing monkeypox vaccine to those at high risk, including MSM with multiple sexual partners, those known to have been exposed and health care workers. At a time when supply of this vaccine is limited, we call on countries with access to supply to share with countries that have a need for vaccines and do not have access. As the clinical data for protection against monkeypox using approved smallpox/monkeypox vaccines in the context of an outbreak of monkeypox is limited, it is critical to collect and share data on efficacy and safety in real-world settings as this vaccine is rolled out in a limited fashion to fight the outbreak.
We continue to monitor the situation closely, relying strongly on guidance and reporting from our colleagues at the WHO. This global outbreak reminds us, again, of the importance of preparedness and response to global health challenges. As we continue to tackle other threats, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure we are able to respond to new shocks such as this growing monkeypox outbreak. Scientific studies to better understand transmission dynamics, including in countries where the disease has been occurring for some time and transmission patterns may be different from this outbreak, will be critical if we need to design new countermeasures. Gavi stands ready to work with Alliance partners, the global health community, academia, countries, the private sector and civil society to respond to this outbreak.
“The Vaccine Alliance will remain vigilant and on call to engage, working with the WHO and other partners, should it be determined that a broader vaccine effort requires Gavi’s involvement.” said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. “As countries procure smallpox vaccines, effective against monkeypox, we urge governments with stockpiles – or supplies on order – to be generous and flexible in releasing doses to countries with cases that do not have access to help ensure equity."