The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended monkeypox vaccines for key risk groups, including gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men who are at high risk of exposure.ATAGI also updated its earlier guideline and in addition to the ACAM2000 vaccine, it has recommended the use of JYNNEOS (MVA-BN) vaccines for monkeypox.Following the update to the vaccination guidelines, Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly on Thursday declared monkeypox as a “Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance”.
As of July 28, 2022, around 20,311 monkeypox cases have been reported in 71 countries, outside of Central and West Africa where the disease is endemic.
This includes 44 monkeypox cases in Australia, a majority among returned international travellers. LGBTQI leaders and organisations in Australia had urged the government to approve and secure supplies of the monkeypox vaccine and offer it to gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men and other at risk individuals.Professor Kelly said that monkeypox was “far less harmful than COVID-19” and “far less transmissible”.
No deaths have been reported in the current outbreak outside of the countries where it is endemic. “Most cases of MPX in Australia have been among people aged 21 to 40 years.