South African experts don’t see need for mass monkeypox vaccination

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South African disease experts said on Wednesday that they did not see a need for a mass vaccination campaign against monkeypox or believe that cases would explode in the same way as COVID-19.

South Africa has not recorded any confirmed or suspected of cases of monkeypox, a usually mild viral infection that is endemic in parts of West and Central Africa.

But its health authorities are vigilant after more than 200 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus have been detected in at least 19 countries since early May.

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“At this time we don’t need mass vaccinations for monkeypox. There's a lot for us to investigate on the epidemiological point of view,” said Adrian Puren, executive director of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Jacqueline Weyer, from the NICD’s Center for Emerging, Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, said that so far there was “nothing strange, nothing that we haven’t seen before” in the monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa, “except that it’s now happening in a different place.”

She said monkeypox was not as highly transmissible as the virus that causes COVID-19.

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