Canada will not yet change its approach to administering monkeypox vaccines to allow them to be broken down into much smaller doses, which the United States has done in order to vaccinate more people than the current strategy.
Canada’s chief public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, said during a news conference on Friday that Canada has no plans at the moment to recommend changes in the vaccination strategy to allow partial doses to be given across the country.
“We’ve been reaching out, of course, with our colleagues in the United States to look at their strategy and see if we can gather as much information as possible. There is limited data, but I think it’s an important approach to exploration,” she said. .
“But right now, working with the National Immunization Advisory Committee (NACI), we’re really pushing a single-dose approach first to reach as many people as possible in the most affected populations, and we’re going to look at the time interval and the timing and the need for that second dose.”
Watch | The United States is moving to expand supplies of monkeypox vaccine with smaller doses:
United State Transformed her vaccination strategy Earlier this week to allow five full doses of the vaccine, which is made by the North Bavarian Danish company, to be used to expand the supply and cover more people after the approach was deemed safe and effective.
The vaccine will now be delivered into the skin in the US rather than being inserted deeper into the muscle, after the US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization that allowed partial doses of the vaccine to be used for people 18 and older.
Virologist says vaccine availability is a challenge
“Looking at the global picture, the biggest challenge we have right now is vaccine supply,” said Alison Kelvin, a virologist with the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Organization of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
“There is a limited supply around the world, so we need to find strategies to contain the virus and the outbreak, and one of those strategies is dose sparing, which is basically the approach the United States has taken here.”
Kelvin said evidence shows that intradermal administration of the subcutaneous vaccine provides a “very robust response” with the monkeypox vaccine, also known as Imvamune.
“Given that we want to protect as many people as possible and contain the outbreak, this makes sense in a situation where the vaccine supply is limited compared to the number of cases or the course of cases,” she said.
“We have much fewer cases than in the US so I don’t know how that compares to our vaccine supply.”
Public Health Canada (PHAC) has repeatedly declined to provide the number of monkeypox vaccines that Canada has in the national stockpile, citing security concerns, despite providing that number for other vaccines and other countries sharing that information.
To date, Tam said, Canada has deployed 99,000 vaccines to provinces and territories.
“What we want to do is watch which communities are getting strategy into the dermis and see how protected they are, and cases have been able to bend because of that,” Kelvin said.
“And if we’re in this situation where we find we don’t have enough vaccines to go around protecting those who need them, it would be reasonable to look at that as a strategy going forward.”
More than 1000 cases in Canada
there now 1059 cases of monkeypox Across Canada, with the bulk of it in Ontario and Quebec, amid a growing global outbreak that has spread to dozens of countries around the world in the past few months.
Tam said Canada will soon move to testing wastewater in different parts of the country to better track the spread of the disease, also known as MPXV, to build infrastructure developed to monitor COVID-19 in the pandemic.
“From now on, it could form part of our monitoring of disease activity going up and down across the country,” she said, noting that the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg had developed a new method for detecting the virus in wastewater. “Now we have come up with something that can be used more widely.”
Watch | Canada records more than 1,000 cases of monkeypox:
In Canada and around the world, the current outbreak has severely affected men who have sex with men and can cause painful infections that take weeks to heal.
More than 99 percent of MPXV cases in Canada are in men and the average age of those infected is 35, Tam said. Late last month, PHAC Gay and bisexual men encouraged to practice safe sex And limit the number of sexual partners, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus between sexual networks.
Globally, Tam said there are now more than 31,000 cases reported in more than 91 countries, with a 19 percent increase in cases this week compared to the previous week.
Tam said it is “too early to tell” whether cases are slowing or declining in Canada, although there may be “some early signs” that cases are not increasing at the same rate as they were at the start of the outbreak.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has classified the outbreak as a virus global emergency Late last month, he described the rapid spread of the virus around the world as an “exceptional” situation.