Monkeypox jab options calculated
Vaccine preparations are needed to deal with monkeypox but there's no need yet for any mass vaccination, said Dr Thiravat Hemachudha, head of the Emerging Diseases Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University.
"It's very important to prepare the vaccine in case of need despite the fact there has yet to be a confirmed monkeypox case in the country so far," Dr Thiravat said.
Even though there is no direct monkeypox vaccine, health officials say studies have found that smallpox vaccines are effective in both preventing and reducing monkeypox infections.
Thailand stopped providing the smallpox vaccine in the early 1980s due to the disease being eradicated, resulting in people today over the age of 40 still having immunity from such shots.
The immunity is lasting, but its level of efficacy is reduced as people age or because of chronic diseases.
Dr Thiravat said the country's herd immunity to smallpox is currently 60%.
"If an outbreak happens, such a low level of herd immunity can't prevent massive human-to-human transmission," Dr Thiravat said.
"However, it is not necessary for all people to get it right now," he said.
"Medical staff and high-risk contact groups should be the first to get the vaccine if an outbreak is found in the country."
Dr Thiravat said that effective herd immunity should be at a level of 85% which helps prevent widespread transmission in the case of an outbreak.
The Department of Medical Sciences is currently studying the efficacy of the smallpox vaccine. The department expects to produce about 50,000 doses of the vaccine to fight against monkeypox if needed.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of June 15, a cumulative total of 2,103 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death have been reported to the WHO from 42 countries.