Israel was the world leader in combating COVID-19 with a vaccine, now they’re getting ready for monkeypox

Thousands of tiny vials of a rare and valuable vaccine are about to be sent to health clinics across Israel for the country’s first attack to control an outbreak of monkeypox.

Israel’s health authorities have taken the unusual approach of securing 10,000 monkeypox vaccines for its residents, despite only having recorded 125 cases of the disease.

They have also expressed their desire to get more supplies in future.

Gal Wagner – an LGBT medical expert in Tel Aviv – said monkeypox was “filled with requests” for a vaccine since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global emergency, the agency’s highest level of warning.

“People are afraid of the virus and they really want to protect themselves,” Dr Wagner said.

“When we started talking about vaccinations in Israel and the Ministry of Health announced that they had purchased vaccinations for Israel, we saw a number of patients who were really happy and wanted to get the vaccinations right away.”

Israel’s quick response to monkeypox is the second time in recent years that the nation has been swiftly mobilizing against the health threat.

‘There is no room for contentment’

Dr Wagner’s clinic will be one of the first in Israel to offer the vaccine to high-risk patients, including men born after 1980 who have HIV, men on HIV pre-exposure meds, or men who have sexually transmitted infections this year. contracted the disease.

A man with a gray beard wearing a lab coat stands with a vial from a large box of vials in the GP's office
Dr. Gal Wagner, an LGBT medicine specialist in Tel Aviv, says many of his patients are relieved that Israel is moving quickly on monkeypox. ,ABC News: Heather Jones,

Monkeypox – which has been found in more than 70 countries – is not a sexually transmitted disease.

However, this global outbreak has so far been found mostly in the sexual networks of men who have sex with other men.

The WHO has cautioned that no one should assume that the outbreak will occur only within this community.

WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Henri P. Kluge, said: “There is no room for complacency … With its rapidly expanding outbreak – with every hour, day and week – its efforts are being made in previously unaffected regions.” expanding reach.”

The WHO said the disease – which belongs to the family of viruses similar to smallpox – is spread through close contact with an infected person.

Plastic tube with red lid, with sticker reading" virus sampling tube" on the side
Monkeypox infection can be confirmed by examining a swab of blister fluid or a scab from a skin rash.,ABC News: Heather Jones,

It can also be spread through infected particles on objects such as bedding or towels.

People infected with monkeypox usually come down with fever and body aches, before the blistering rash appears on their body.

Although it can be quite painful, most patients make a full recovery.

Israel wants to be world leader in fighting infectious diseases

Going hard and fast on vaccination is a technology Israel relied on when COVID-19 emerged.

At the start of the pandemic, the government struck a deal with Pfizer to obtain a supply of the vaccine in exchange for giving the pharmaceutical company access to Israel’s personal health data.

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