PH can access vaccines vs. monkeypox — expert

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — An expert on infectious diseases said the country has the connections to acquire vaccines for monkeypox should the need arise.

"Bagamat ngayon wala pa naman tayong stockpiles ng vaccines, meron naman tayong contacts with the United States Centers for Disease Control and other agencies na kung kakailanganin natin ng tulong sa pag-procure nito may linkages naman ‘yung ating gobyerno," Dr. Edsel Salvaña said at a briefing on Wednesday.

[Translation: Although we have no stockpiles of vaccines now, we have contacts with the United States Centers for Disease Control and other agencies should we need to help in procurement. Our government has linkages.]

Salvaña is also a member of the Department of Health's technical advisory group.

Despite the absence of cases in the country, Salvaña said current health and safety protocols for COVID-19, such as the wearing of face masks, can help combat monkeypox.

The CDC said the smallpox vaccine can be used to help prevent monkeypox, a zoonotic disease re-emerging globally, since the viruses that cause the two are closely related.

Salvaña explained monkeypox is not as contagious as COVID-19.

"Kung kasama mo sa eroplano ‘yung isang tao na may monkeypox, at umuubo siya dahil may systemic symptoms naman ito, usually ang nahahawa lang ‘yung immediately around him — ‘yung katabi niya at ‘yung nasa harap at sa likod na row, hindi ‘yung buong eroplano ang mahahawa," he said as an example.

[Translation: If you are on an airplane with someone who has monkeypox, and who’s coughing because there are systemic symptoms, the ones who are usually infected are those immediately around him -- those beside, behind and in front of him and not the whole plane.]

He also said since the incubation period for monkeypox is seven to 14 days, there is time for contact tracing, as well as the administration of a vaccine.

"Pwedeng magbigay ng vaccine within four days of contact para hindi matuloy ‘yung pag-outbreak," said Salvaña.

[Translation: A vaccine can be given within four days of contact to prevent an outbreak.]

READ: What is monkeypox and its signs and symptoms?