Africa Needs Vaccines to Fight Mpox, Wealthy Countries Must Act

In Global Advocacy, Global Featured, News by Brian Shepherd

With a deadly endemic mpox (formerly monkeypox) strain ravaging parts of Africa, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo, due to little-to-no vaccine access on the continent, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) urges the Global North to send doses of the Jynneos smallpox vaccine to Africa for immediate distribution. The Jynneos smallpox vaccine has proven effective in fighting mpox.

“Even though the World Health Organization declared that mpox was no longer a public health emergency in May, Africans are threatened by an even deadlier strain that can kill up to 10% of those who contract it. We urge wealthy nations to do the right thing and send doses of the smallpox vaccine to Africa immediately so health officials and workers can get them to areas where people are dying from a preventable and treatable neglected infectious disease,” said Oluwakemi Gbadamosi, Director of Advocacy, Policy & Marketing for AHF’s Africa Bureau. “As we saw with the COVID-19 and mpox outbreaks, the world is in dire need of solidarity on vaccines – get smallpox vaccines where they’re needed most, and make the international collaboration happen between scientists, research groups, health organizations, and governments that will ensure we can vaccinate our world against this and the next threat to global public health.”

Global cooperation is also needed in other areas, including increased international genomic sequencing and viral surveillance capacities, along with more investment in research for neglected infectious diseases. Additionally, Africa must have the resources to produce vaccines on the continent. With these measures in place, governments will be better prepared for future outbreaks and can prevent them from becoming a global crisis.

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