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Aged over 48? You may already have protection against monkeypox

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A leading virologist has offered good news and bad news about Thailand’s effort to prevent an outbreak of monkeypox after the disease spread to more than 30 countries on Thursday.

Dr Yong Poovorawan said Thais aged over 48 may have some immunity against monkeypox but anyone born after 1974 was unlikely to have protection.

Yong explained that this was because Thailand’s mass vaccination with smallpox vaccine – which is known to be effective against monkeypox – ended around that year.

But with the country now facing a surge of overseas arrivals, including from countries where monkeypox has been detected, the government last week asked the World Health Organisation for a fresh supply of smallpox vaccine. As of Friday, there had been no reports of monkeypox cases in Thailand.

Yong said Thailand’s vaccination campaign against smallpox was reduced in 1974 before being scrapped completely in 1980, when the disease was eradicated from the world.

He recounted his own experience as a new paediatrics graduate in 1974 and 1975, explaining that Chulalongkorn University had already stopped administering smallpox vaccine by that time.

His nephews were born in 1975, 1977, and 1980 and received only tuberculosis vaccine but not smallpox vaccine.

However, he added that he had administered smallpox vaccine to Thai-Chinese children at a clinic in 1978, because the procedure was still popular with the Thai-Chinese community.

 

Aged over 48? You may already have protection against monkeypox Aged over 48? You may already have protection against monkeypox

Published : June 03, 2022

By : THE NATION