| Photo: Leone Iglesias/AT
The current scenario of evolution in the number of confirmed cases of the new smallpox has raised doubts about immunity. After all, who took the vaccine 50 years ago is immune to this virus?
Highlighting the need to diagnose and isolate quickly to prevent the chain of transmission, the doctor in Epidemiology and professor at the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Ufes) Ethel Maciel spoke on the subject.
“About the vaccine that people took until the 70s in Brazil against smallpox, what we know from a published scientific article is that it confers 85% effectiveness in protecting against the severity of the ‘monkeypox’ disease. because they are very similar viruses”.
However, Ethel Maciel points out that it is necessary to take into account that this virus that is now circulating has mutated.
“It is not the same virus that the study carried out there in the 1980s. So, we need research now to be able to understand whether that vaccine also protects against this variant that is circulating here in Brazil”.
The infectologist and coordinator of the Hospital Infection Control Service at Hospital São José, Eduardo Pandini, also recalled that people who were younger when they were vaccinated in the 70s are now in the age group over 40 years.
“Despite the report in Africa of an 85% protection against monkeypox, in Spain there have been reports of people who caught monkeypox even though they had been vaccinated for years. We don’t know if it’s because the immune system is aging. Even knowing that immunity exists, you cannot say how strong it remains after more than four decades.”
take the doubts
1) Who will receive the new smallpox vaccine?
The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) released the application of the immunizing agent in adults aged 18 or over, without restrictions. But the Ministry of Health says that, at this time, the vaccine will only be intended for health professionals who handle samples collected from patients and people who have had direct contact with patients.
2) Which vaccine will be used in Brazil?
Anvisa authorized the import and use of the non-replicating virus vaccine manufactured by the Bavarian Nordic A/S laboratory in Denmark. Despite being the same product, the immunizer is called Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe.
The immunizer was initially developed for the control of human smallpox, but it has also shown efficacy against monkeypox.
3) Are there any vaccines approved for children in the country?
Not. Anvisa says, however, that new data may emerge, since so far there is only indication of use for people over 18 years old.
4) How many doses were purchased?
The Ministry of Health bought 50,000 doses of the vaccine.
5) When will vaccination start in Brazil?
The Ministry of Health expects to receive 20,000 of the 50,000 doses purchased in September, and the rest in October. The folder did not say when it intends to start vaccinating the target audience.
6) The release is valid for six months. And then?
The director of Anvisa, Meiruze Freitas, says that if no company requests the definitive registration of a vaccine or authorization for emergency use within six months, the Ministry of Health can submit a request to Anvisa for an extension of the deadline.
“The Ministry will present us with a product monitoring report in Brazil. Did it show efficiency? Has the number of cases reduced? Was it safe? Have we not had the appearance of adverse, unknown or risk reactions? If the epidemiological scenario remains the same, Anvisa may extend the deadline”, he explains.
7) Can a person with smallpox get the vaccine?
Meiruze Freitas states that “the logic is to think so”. “There is not much information about it. At first, it is believed that those who have had monkeypox have natural immunity for a period, but it is not yet known for how long. Back in the day, those who had smallpox later also had the smallpox vaccine. So, it is not possible to say that those who have had monkeypox are exempt from the need to take the vaccine. We’ll have to follow up yet.”
8) Can anyone who has had the smallpox vaccine in the past take it now?
“There is no impediment. By logic, also using the same principle of reasonableness, it is believed that whoever had the smallpox vaccine in the past would also have cross-protection (for monkeypox), but we don’t know for how long. What draws attention is that most people infected initially are under 40 years old. And these people under the age of 40 were born at a time when smallpox was eradicated, so they weren’t vaccinated. We would have to have a study to say that this actually happens, but there is a strong indication.”
Source: Folha Agency.
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