A man is vaccinated with a dose of monkeypox vaccine
Photo: Vincent Johnson / XinHua / dpa
According to a new study, what is currently the only vaccine against monkeypox that has been approved offers “strong protection” against the disease with the first dose.
Two weeks after the first dose, the vaccine is estimated to be 78 percent effective, said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
"We now know that a first dose of vaccine provides strong protection against monkeypox," said Jamie Lopez-Bernal, an epidemiologist at the agency.
The findings are based on a study of 363 cases of monkeypox in England between July and November.
According to the authority, it is the "strongest British evidence to date" for the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The vaccine is a vaccine from the German-Danish manufacturer Bavarian Nordic, which is also used in Germany.
A second vaccination is given 28 days after the first dose.
"A second dose can be expected to provide even greater and longer-lasting protection," Lopez-Bernal said.
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The vaccine has been approved under the name Imvanex in Germany for protection against smallpox since 2013 and since July this year also for protection against monkeypox.
In the USA and Canada, the same vaccine has been approved against monkeypox for several years under the names Jynneos and Imvamune.
The vaccine is a live vaccine based on a weakened so-called vaccinia virus.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Jynneos vaccine is currently available in Germany.
Monkeypox is a much less dangerous variant of smallpox, which has been eradicated for about 40 years.
Typical symptoms of the disease include high fever, swollen lymph nodes and pustules similar to chickenpox.
The disease is transmitted through close body and skin contact.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), men who have sexual intercourse with men are particularly affected.
If monkeypox is left untreated, the symptoms usually go away on their own after two to four weeks.
Vaccination only for certain groups
Until this year, the disease was mainly found in West and Central Africa, but since May it has also spread to other countries.
However, the numbers in Western Europe and North America, which are particularly affected, have been declining for several months.
The first case of monkeypox in Germany became known in May.
Since then, 3,672 monkeypox cases from all 16 federal states have been reported to the RKI, and no deaths have been reported so far.
In Germany, too, the numbers are now declining - since mid-October, only case numbers in the single-digit range have been reported.
The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) currently only recommends monkeypox vaccination for certain groups of people.
As part of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), people over the age of 18 who have had close contact with people who have been proven to be infected in the last 14 days should be vaccinated.
Preventive vaccination is recommended primarily for adult men who have sex with men and often change partners.
According to Stiko, those who have already been vaccinated against smallpox in the past should only receive one dose of the vaccine.
The RKI currently assesses the risk to the health of the general population from monkeypox as low.