40-year-old smallpox vaccines can still fight monkeypox: ministry
The smallpox vaccines in storage with the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) are still valid and can be used if there is a monkeypox outbreak, the Public Health Ministry said.
Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said on Sunday that 500,000 doses of 40-year-old frozen live vaccines are available. They can be administered intradermally by pricking the skin and allowing the vaccine to penetrate through the dermis.
“Cooperation between relevant agencies will be necessary in case of emergency, as well as considering the vaccine’s benefits and risks as well as available alternatives,” he said.
Separately, Department of Disease Control director-general Opas Karnkawinpong said his department has placed an order for monkeypox vaccines which will be rolled out soon. He added that the department will look into the efficiency of GPO’s smallpox vaccines and possible side-effects as well as the monkeypox situation before deciding to use them.
“Based on the current situation, it is not necessary to inoculate everybody, but we will have to vaccinate specific groups such as laboratory personnel and medical staff who come into contact with patients,” he said.