The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, confirmed this Tuesday that he is going to convene the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations to assess whether or not monkeypox is a public health emergency of international concern.
At a press conference on Tuesday the director general confirmed that there have already been more than 1,600 cases of monkeypox in 39 countries. He also revealed there are currently some 1,300 suspected cases and there have been 79 deaths from this disease, but he insisted that, for now, the WHO does not recommend mass vaccination.
"Although chickenpox vaccines can provide protection, there is little clinical data on their efficacy and there is also no large supply of these vaccines," Tedros stressed, warning that the global outbreak is "unusual and concerning".
“The virus is spreading in an unusual way, affecting more and more countries, requiring a coordinated response due to the geographical spread of the virus. Likewise, having this commission will allow us to deliberate on the different decisions with experts and, thus, better understand the virus,” Tedros said.
On Tuesday the WHO published a new vaccination and immunisation guide for monkeypox, which provides the first recommendations on the use of (smallpox) vaccines for the disease.
The goal of the global response to the outbreak is to control the outbreak and effectively use public health measures to prevent the spread of the disease. "All efforts should be made to deliver monkeypox vaccines within a framework of collaborative research and randomised clinical trial (RCT) protocols with standardised data collection tools for clinical and outcome data," said the organisation.
The global outbreak of #monkeypox is clearly unusual and concerning. I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations on Thursday next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 14, 2022