The Danish Health Authority will reconsider its vaccination strategy against monkeypox, including whether more people should be offered a vaccine. Currently, only close contacts to confirmed cases of the virus are offered vaccination.
“It’s clear that when we see an increase [in cases], there’s something or other we’re not doing well enough. So we must find out how to do it better,” deputy director Helene Bilsted Probst told news wire Ritzau.
“In light of the increase we’re now seeing, we are reassessing whether to offer vaccination to someone who might be at high risk of infection but is not a close contact,” she said.
Monkeypox infection typically occurs due to close physical contact or through sleeping in the same bed. It can only be passed on once the infected person has symptoms.
In Denmark, as in other countries, a large number of cases are being seen among men who have sex with men.
The Danish Health Authority is this week expected update guidelines for monkeypox and increase its messaging relating to the virus.
A decision on whether to broaden the scope of vaccination is expected to be made by next week.
Denmark has purchased 3,000 monkeypox vaccines. Probst said around 150 close contacts had so far been vaccinated but that she could not give an exact figure.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, to be a global health emergency — the highest alarm it can sound.
The WHO’s European office said on Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths can be expected, following reports in Spain of the first fatalities outside Africa, while stressing that severe complications were still be rare.