Monkeypox in Canada: talks underway to get more vaccines
Canada’s top doctor says negotiations are underway to get more vaccines to reduce monkeypox as confirmed cases hit 278 nationwide.
Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said there were « discussions and ongoing contract negotiations » to secure doses from Bavarian Nordic, the Danish maker of a smallpox vaccine approved for use against monkeypox.
She says current doses come from Canada’s national emergency strategic stockpile for targeted use in high-risk areas.
This includes Quebec, where Tam says more than 7,000 people have received vaccines, and Ontario, where she estimates about 5,000 people have been vaccinated.
She says provinces have the supply they need at the moment, but federal officials are keeping a close eye on regions that are cutting supply.
Tam says as of June 29, 202 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in Quebec, 67 in Ontario, five in Alberta and four in British Columbia.
The majority of cases are males between the ages of 20 and 69, and the majority have reported intimate sexual contact with other males, although monkeypox risk is not exclusive to any group or setting.
Tam pointed out that anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, could become infected if they come in close contact with someone who has monkeypox or if they come into contact with personal items belonging to them. to an infected person, including towels or sheets.
Bavarian Nordic said earlier this month that the Public Health Agency of Canada had agreed to a five-year, US$56 million contract to purchase its Imvamune vaccine.
Deliveries were to begin in 2023.
Tam wouldn’t comment on how much is still in Canada’s stockpile, but said the provinces currently doing vaccinations « have what they need. »
“We have had very close bilateral discussions with the provinces in terms of procurement as they begin to tap into the procurement allocated to their particular jurisdiction,” Tam said Thursday.
« Of course, discussions and contract negotiations continue with Bavarian Nordic, the manufacturer, to get more. »
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 30, 2022.