Singapore’s MOH does not suggest mass vaccination against monkeypox for Singaporean citizens even after WHO declared a global health emergency.
In this article, you’ll read:
- MOH Holds Back on Mass Vaccination Against Monkeypox
- MOH Reaches Out to ‘At-Risk Populations’ to Reduce the Spread of Monkeypox
On the 8th of May 2019, Singaporean authorities confirmed the first case of monkeypox infection in the country. It was a 38-year-old man from Nigeria who travelled to Singapore.
In just over two months, a global outbreak of monkeypox in non-endemic countries rises to more than 15,000 cases. According to the World Health Organisation, the majority of monkeypox cases are from the European region.
On the 21st of June this year, the Ministry of Health confirmed one imported case of monkeypox infection in Singapore. The patient is a 42-year-old male British national who works as a flight attendant.
MOH Holds Back on Mass Vaccination Against Monkeypox
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox. He said that the benefits of mass vaccination against viral disease do not outweigh the risk.
The Ministry of Health’s announcement regarding this matter happened on Monday, the 25th of July 2022. It comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The declaration happened last Saturday.
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MOH Officials Cite Lack of Benefits
Due to the reported nature of monkeypox, MOH officials decided to hold back on mass vaccination.
Health Minister Ong Ke Yung also stated, “MOH does not recommend the mass vaccination of the whole population against monkeypox because the benefits do not outweigh the risk.”
While MOH does not plan on having mass vaccination against the viral disease, they still manage to reassure the people. According to the Health Minister, they would continue to monitor the situation closely.
Currently, there are four imported and four local cases of monkeypox in the country. However, officials found no evidence of transmission among the people that encountered infected individuals.
“MOH also quarantines their close contacts for up to 21 days since last exposure, while lower risk contacts are monitored through phone surveillance,” stated the Minister.
The Surge in Monkeypox Infections
International reports on a surge in monkeypox infections sparked in early May of the current year. The news about the viral disease started outside the West and Central African countries, where the disease has long been endemic.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) tackles global disease outbreaks, including the monkeypox infection. Recently, they declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
Concerning this, WHO officials determined that the spread of monkeypox reached a spread requiring an international coordinated response. Their announcement also serves as a warning for health officials to watch out for looming threats of the disease.
Meanwhile, nations like Singapore monitor the monkeypox spread before it reaches an alarming level. With this, they can prepare for the possible need for mass vaccination against monkeypox.
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US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that smallpox vaccines could protect people from contracting monkeypox. It is because the viruses that cause both monkeypox and smallpox are closely related.
Presently, citizens in the United States are receiving the Jynneos and ACAM2000 smallpox vaccines. People who receive that vaccine may experience serious side effects. Data says that the smallpox vaccines can be up to 85% effective against monkeypox.
MOH Reaches Out to ‘At-Risk Populations’ to Reduce the Spread of Monkeypox
On the 25th of July, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said they are currently reaching out to “at-risk groups.” These groups include those people who are engaging in high-risk sexual activities.
The ministry aims to raise awareness of monkeypox transmission, especially among those at higher risk. They are collaborating with healthcare and community partners to reduce the spread of monkeypox infection.
Last Saturday, WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency. They announced to the public in the highest alarm it could sound.
What Are the ‘At-Risk Populations’?
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained the need to focus on certain groups to fight against the monkeypox spread.
He said the outbreak was “concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners.”
Concerning this, the WHO chief emphasises countries can prevent the possibility of an outbreak by coming up with the best strategies for different groups.
In addition, Singapore’s Ministry of Health highlights the importance of educating people regarding viral diseases. They also said that outreach to at-risk groups is essential in reducing the spread of monkeypox infections.
According to the MOH, “Efforts have also been taken to reach out to the at-risk population.”
They also stated their plans of raising awareness of monkeypox transmission by coordinating with healthcare and community partners. With this, they can reduce the possibility of a monkeypox outbreak in Singapore.