Who is eligible for monkeypox vaccine?
Monkeypox is a viral illness caused by the monkeypox virus. It is similar to human smallpox, but milder. The illness is primarily found in remote areas of Central and West Africa near tropical rainforests. However, there have been recent outbreaks in other countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The monkeypox virus is transmitted to humans from infected animals, such as rodents and squirrels, as well as from human-to-human contact. The symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash that spreads over the body. The illness is usually mild, but in severe cases, it can lead to life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis.
Due to the risk of transmission and the potential for serious illness, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccination against monkeypox for people who are at high risk of exposure, such as:
- Healthcare workers and laboratory personnel who work with the virus
- Military personnel and other people who may be deployed to endemic areas
- People who live in or frequently travel to endemic areas
- People who have close contact with animals that carry the virus
The vaccine for monkeypox is similar to the vaccine for smallpox. It is a live-attenuated vaccine that works by exposing the body to a weakened form of the virus. This triggers an immune response, which provides protection against future infection.
The vaccine is generally well-tolerated and safe, with few side effects. The most common side effects are mild and include soreness at the injection site, fever, and headache. In rare cases, serious side effects may occur, such as severe allergic reactions, encephalitis, and myocarditis.
People who should not receive the monkeypox vaccine include:
- Pregnant women
- People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or cancer
- People who have had a severe reaction to the smallpox vaccine
- People with a history of eczema or other skin conditions
It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of the monkeypox vaccine with a healthcare provider before getting vaccinated. The healthcare provider can determine if the vaccine is appropriate based on an individual’s health history and risk of exposure to the virus.
In addition to vaccination, there are other measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of monkeypox infection. These include:
- Washing hands regularly with soap and water
- Avoiding close contact with infected people or animals
- Wearing protective clothing and masks when caring for people with monkeypox
- Cooking meat from infected animals thoroughly before eating it
In conclusion, the monkeypox vaccine is recommended for people who are at high risk of exposure to the virus, such as healthcare workers, military personnel, and travelers to endemic areas. The vaccine is generally safe and well-tolerated, but it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider before getting vaccinated. In addition to vaccination, other measures, such as hand hygiene and avoiding close contact with infected people or animals, can also help reduce the risk of infection.