I hope you are resuming normal life. But should you again hunker down because of yet another infectious disease threat?
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros (not a medical doctor), has declared that monkeypox is a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC), overriding the majority of his own expert committee of medical and scientific advisors.
It just so happens that there are two vaccines available. The government is paying to produce millions more doses. Should you grab one as quickly as possible?
One thing you should definitely do is abstain from sex with anyone except your faithful spouse. If everyone did that, the outbreak would fizzle out in two to three weeks. The vast majority of cases (98 percent) involve men who have sex with men. It is said that the vaccine might protect a person who receives it within four days after exposure, but there is no evidence to support this.
Sexual contact is not necessary for transmission. A person could get infected through direct or indirect contact with the skin lesions, say by hugging or sharing towels.
Things to know about the vaccine:
- Everyone who gets it is an experimental subject. The government thinks it should be effective against smallpox and is cousin monkeypox, but it is impossible to test for efficacy. There has been no smallpox for decades and very little monkeypox. People do make antibodies, but do they work?
- According to the vaccine label, as many as 1 in 50 recipients had a “cardiac event of special interest,” and FDA documents showed that up to 18% (almost one in five) had an elevated troponin level, a blood test indicating possible heart damage.
- The vaccine may be immunosuppressive. Around 7 percent of HIV-positive subjects had worsening of their HIV test results and may be more susceptible to other infections.
The safe and effective way to avoid monkeypox is to avoid exposure and to practice excellent hygiene—not to rely on experimental vaccines and treatments.