MOH doesn't recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox as 'benefits do not outweigh risk': Ong Ye Kung
SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said this after Singapore confirmed two more case of the virus on Sunday (July 24), bringing the total number of infections here to eight.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Mr Ong said that given the "self-limiting nature of the disease", mass vaccination against monkeypox is not recommended by MOH because the "benefits do not outweigh the risk".
Over the weekend, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency over the outbreak.
WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had overruled a panel of advisers and declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”, a designation that WHO uses to describe only two other diseases — Covid-19 and polio.
Among the eight cases detected in Singapore so far, four were imported and the remainder were transmitted locally. .
Of the two new cases reported on Sunday, one of them involved a 46-year-old Estonian man who entered Singapore from London, England on July 21. He tested positive on Sunday, MOH said in an update on its website.
The other case was a 26-year-old Singaporean man who tested positive on Sunday.
“Both cases are in a stable condition. They are not linked to any of the monkeypox cases earlier announced by MOH. Contact tracing is ongoing,” the ministry added.
In his post, Mr Ong added that the eight cases were "promptly isolated". "There was no evidence of them transmitting the infection to other people in the community."
MOH quarantines close contacts of cases for up to 21 days since their last exposure, while lower-risk contacts are monitored through phone surveillance.
"Typically, each case may generate three to four close contacts who require quarantine, unlike Covid-19, which may generate up to 20 quarantine orders," Mr Ong said.
Referring to WHO's declaration, Mr Ong noted that the organisation "decided to do so, since the disease met the criteria of being an extraordinary event, put other countries at risk, and requires international coordination in response".
"WHO’s risk assessment for monkeypox remains at ‘moderate’", he added.