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Monkeypox, already preparing “the international emergency” (and vaccines)

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Monkeypox, already preparing “the international emergency” (and vaccines)

If the word “health emergency” seemed to be just a memory, in reality the new monkeypox virus is making the upper floors move. The cases found in Europe in the last week are about 900 and on the danger and mortality, which is around 1 percent, the Director General of Prevention of the Ministry of Health Gianni Rezza he explains that: “The virus is transmitted by direct or very close contact and for this reason the outbreaks generally tend to limit themselves”.

Despite this, and the many reassurances of doctors who indicate “not to cause panic”, a few days ago – precisely on June 14 – the European Commission has decided to finalize a contract for the acquisition of 110,000 doses of the vaccine, which will be available to member countries. “This is a clear signal that the Hera agency can respond effectively to threats to health”, said – in fact – the Commissioner of the EU Health Council, Stella Kyriakides, in Luxembourg. For the first time, unlike for Covid-19, the doses were paid with European funds and not individually by the states. However, it should be noted that the vaccine, which is called Imvanez, has not yet been approved in Europe.

A reverse path, therefore: first the big purchase and then, eventually, the distribution of the doses to the countries. On 23 June they were in fact called, as he reports Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusdirector of the WHO, the experts of the Emergency Committee with the aim of assessing the real extent of the risk represented by the so-called monkeypox. The Committee will have to decide whether or not to declare a state of health emergency: if the outcome is positive, the vaccines will be distributed to countries, otherwise not.

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The question arises: Why were thousands of doses of the vaccine purchased before the World Health Organization gave its opinion? If it decides not to declare a state of emergency where will all those vaccines end up? Based on the experience of Covid vaccines, advanced in all Italian regions to the point of extending the expiration date by three months, the contract signed today would seem at least risky.

The decision is therefore up to the World Health Organization and the real possibility of reliving what we have experienced in recent years could appear in a few weeks. A film that has already been seen, a script that unfortunately we had to learn by heart. Everything will be decided in a few dayson June 23, the date on which a new health emergency could start. What is certain is that the vaccines are ready: and this seems to be the only thing that matters. Far from conspiracies, however, it is inevitable to ask: has Europe really decided to take such a great risk, stipulating a contract prematurely and without any scientific certainty, risking an epochal flop?

Bianca Leonardi, June 16, 2022

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