World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Wednesday asked media outlets and social media platforms to help censor “misinformation” and “disinformation” regarding the monkeypox vaccine.
“Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus and can fuel the outbreak,” Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing Wednesday.
“As we have seen with COVID-19, misinformation and disinformation can spread rapidly online, so we call on social media platforms, tech companies and news organizations to work with us to prevent and counter harmful information,” he added.
Curiously, the director-general appeared significantly less impressed by the monkeypox vaccine, manufactured by Bavarian-Nordic in 2013, than he did by the COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured less than a year after the COVID outbreak.
"WHO recommends targeted vaccination for those exposed to someone with monkeypox, and for those at high risk of exposure, including health workers, some laboratory workers, and those with multiple sexual partners,” he said. “At this time, we do not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox.
“One smallpox vaccine, called MVA-BN, has been approved in Canada, the European Union and the U.S. for use against monkeypox.
“Two other vaccines, LC16 and ACAM2000, are also being considered for use against monkeypox.
“However, we still lack data on the effectiveness of vaccines for monkeypox, or how many doses might be needed.
“That’s why we urge all countries that are using vaccines to collect and share critical data on their effectiveness.”
The director-general's remarks come on the same day as the FDA’s approval of Bavarian-Nordic's monkeypox vaccine.
But despite the COVID-19 vaccine being significantly less mature than the monkeypox vaccine, Ghebreyesus was more confident about its effectiveness, six months before it was approved by the FDA.
“A year on, there have been almost 2 million deaths from the COVID-19 virus and while we are hopeful about the safe and effective vaccines that are being rolled out, we want to see this sped up and vaccines allocated equitably in the coming weeks,” he said at a press briefing in January 2021, one month after the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out.