DOH seeks WHO help to purchase anti-monkeypox jabs

The Philippines will acquire vaccines against monkeypox once it becomes available amid the World Health Organization (WHO)’s warning that the rising number of cases was just the “peak of the iceberg.”,Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday said the pharmaceutical division of his agency sought the help of the WHO to look for possible sources of anti-monkeypox shots.,“We are coordinating with the WHO so we could easily import vaccines,” he said in an interview with dzBB.,Scientists are already developing vaccines against monkeypox. Since early May, some 200 cases have been reported in 20 countries like the United States and the United Arab Emirates.,“We don’t know if we are just seeing the peak of the iceberg,” said Sylvie Briand, WHO’s epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention chief.,Speaking before state representatives at an assembly in Geneva, he said more monkeypox cases may be detected in the coming days, but he stressed there was no need to “panic.”,“This is not a disease the general public should be worried about. It is not Covid or other diseases that spread fast,” the WHO official said.,Duque acknowledged the challenges in acquiring anti-monkeypox shots, noting that vaccines against the re-emerging disease could only be found in the United States so far.,For him, Washington’s stockpile of monkeypox antivirals won’t be enough for global consumption.,Duque also noted that the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration has neither approved nor authorized jabs against monkeypox.,The Health Department is expediting legal processes for the procurement of vaccines but has yet to determine the number of anti-monkeypox shots that will be purchased by the country.,“We may want many jabs, but we can’t do anything if there will be no supply,” Duque said.,Monkeypox was not yet detected in the Philippines, but the Health Department has been intensifying border control measures and active symptom screening among inbound travelers.,The DOH is also coordinating with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the Philippine Genome Center for monitoring and surveillance of monkeypox cases through swab tests.,“Monkeypox is not as contagious compared to Covid,” Duque said. “But we still practice minimum health standards like wearing face masks and using alcohol and disinfectant.”,Isolation and quarantine measures will be implemented once monkeypox reaches the Philippines, with the RITM in Muntinlupa City designated as the main isolation facility, according to the DOH., , , ,