Cambodia’s health ministry has said it will not be commencing a vaccination campaign against the monkeypox virus unless World Health Organization (WHO) guidance deems vaccinations necessary.
Despite spreading to many countries around the world, the WHO has not issued a recommendation for governments to vaccinate the public against the disease as they have for Covid-19.
Phnom Penh Post reports that Cambodian Health Ministry Spokeswoman, Or Vandine, said only a few countries are working on producing a vaccine for monkeypox, even though it is not a novel disease. She said that monkeypox has been around for a long time but has not been widespread until recently.
“The important thing at this time is that there are no recommendations that countries should be vaccinating their citizens against monkeypox. Covid-19 is a disease that is transmitted faster via the respiratory tract, so vaccination is necessary,” she said.
Ms. Vandine said that monkeypox is not as easily transmissible as Covid-19 and people are advised only to monitor and follow up on any suspicious symptoms.
“Vaccination is recommended by the WHO only for high-risk groups and people who are found to have been in direct contact with a monkeypox carrier,” she said.
Cambodia recorded its first case of monkeypox in a Nigerian man who tested positive for the virus in Phuket and fled to Phnom Penh, where he was captured and detained by Cambodian police. The man has been deported and banned from re-entering Cambodia for three years.
Nearly 32,000 cases of monkeypox have been recorded across the world in recent months, many of which have been found in countries that have not historically reported monkeypox.