Danish lab to supply 1.5 million monkeypox doses in Europe

Danish company Bavarian Nordic, the lone laboratory manufacturing a licensed vaccine against monkeypox, said on Tuesday an "undisclosed European country" had ordered  1.5 million doses.

Danish lab to supply 1.5 million monkeypox doses in Europe
Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic's offices in Hellerup near Copenhagen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for “intense” efforts to fight the disease as cases rise, especially in western Europe.

Bavarian Nordic said deliveries to the undisclosed country would start this year under the contract but the majority of the doses will be delivered during 2023.

Last week, the drugmaker announced it had received an order for an additional 2.5 million doses to the United States.

The vaccine is marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe.  

In June, a WHO emergency committee of experts decided that monkeypox had not met the threshold to constitute a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern — the highest alarm the WHO can sound.

But last week, the UN health body said it would reconvene the committee on July 21st.

Experts have detected a surge since early May outside of the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic. 

Monkeypox, a viral infection resembling smallpox and first detected in humans in 1970, is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.

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Danish LGBT+ group welcomes monkeypox vaccination decision

A Danish LGBT+ rights group says that a decision by the country’s health authority to offer monkeypox vaccinations to all men who have sex with men, and have multiple sexual partners, is ‘what we have asked for’.

Danish LGBT+ group welcomes monkeypox vaccination decision

Denmark will now offer monkeypox vaccinations to all men who have sex with men and have multiple sexual partners, the Danish Health Authority said on Tuesday.

Previously, the shots were only given to people who had been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Anyone can get monkeypox from close contact, not just men who have sex with men. However, high numbers of cases have been recorded in that group, in Denmark as well as internationally.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox: Denmark to offer vaccination to at-risk group

The head of secretariat with association LGBT+ Denmark, Susanne Branner Jespersen, told broadcaster DR the organisation was “pleased” that health authorities have broadened the segment to which vaccinations are offered.

“This is what we have asked for, so we can only be satisfied that they are now coming out with a vaccination strategy which fits with the needs we are seeing,” Jespersen said.

“Being vaccinated does not set aside the general guidelines which have come out, but it will give a higher degree of security,” she said.

The organisation last week called for the Danish Health Authority to offer the monkeypox vaccine to men who have sex with men.

That request has now been met. The vaccine is given as two injections at a 28-day interval.

The health authority is in dialogue with regional health providers and hospitals regarding how the vaccination effort will be coordinated and expects to begin vaccinations by the end of this week, new wire Ritzau reported.

The vice director of the Danish Health Authority, Helene Probst, DR on Tuesday that people in risk groups show be “extra aware” of symptoms, with case numbers currently increasing.

“Vaccination is one part of a strategy with several elements, but it is also important to be aware of symptoms,” Probst told DR.

Typical symptoms of Monkeypox are similar to those most experience with influenza.

Additional symptoms can include a rash in the groin area, itching and discomfort, and blisters in the mouth or on hands. Should these symptoms present, the sufferer should contact their doctor, be tested for monkeypox and avoid close contact with others.

The disease can be passed on to others once symptoms are present.

Latest data from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the national infectious disease agency, show that 126 people in Denmark have contracted monkeypox since the first case was detected in the country in late May.