Deyalsingh: Trinidad and Tobago trying to get monkeypox vaccine

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said efforts are being made to acquire the Jynneos vaccine, used to treat monkeypox, should the disease reach Trinidad and Tobago.

In response to a question in the House of Representatives on Monday, Deyalsingh said, “We are proactively reaching out to all our local and international partners to acquire Jynneos.”

If the vaccine is acquired, it will be administered as a national vaccine drive, similar to what was done with covid19 vaccines.

Deyalsingh told MPs on May 19, he met with Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds, Principal Medical Officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards and representatives of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) to discuss strategies to deal with monkeypox if it enters the region.

Parasram wrote to the CEOs of all regional health authorities about how to deal with suspected cases of monkeypox. PAHO and Carpha were asked to increase regional testing for monkeypox

Deyalsingh said UWI was asked to increase its genomic sequencing to provide an additional level of vigilance for monkeypox.

So far, cases have been detected in the US, the UK, Spain, and Portugal. The first case was reported on May 7.

About monkeypox

Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease, with the symptoms lasting from two-four weeks.

It may be severe and lead to a range of medical complications. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around three-six per cent.

Typical symptoms are fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Caused by monkeypox virus, the disease is spread to humans from animals and then from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

It occurs mainly in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa, but is occasionally exported elsewhere.

An antiviral agent developed to treat smallpox has also been licensed for treating monkeypox.