Government health officials have warned that epidemics of mpox, the virus formerly known as monkeypox, could return in the summer if at-risk people don’t get more vaccinations. Estimates of vaccine efficacy range from 36% to 75% for one dose and 66% to 86% for two doses, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mpox response. The recommended vaccine, Jynneos, is given twice, several weeks apart.
Dr. Christopher Braden, the incident manager, said that Thursday’s figures were about a reduction in symptomatic infections and not necessarily a reduction in viral infections. He said measuring the impact on the spread of infections is even more difficult. The virus began to break out in previously uncommon regions, the United States and Europe, beginning in the spring of 2022 and quickly became a global emergency.
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the White House’s deputy national anti-mpox coordinator, said there is reason to be concerned about a resurgence of infection, especially given the celebration of LGBTQ pride this month, with about 170 Americans at risk. Estimated to be 10,000, he said. Vaccination is necessary to prevent a relapse of mpox.
Braden warned that as we approach summer when planned fun gatherings may be associated with a higher likelihood of skin-to-skin contact or increased sexual activity, it is of particular concern. More than 30,000 people have been infected in Japan, and over 1.2 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.
The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said that sexual contact between men is the main risk of transmission. The mpox epidemic broke out in August with about 460 infections per day. Most of those infected with the virus are men who have sex with men, causing painful sores and lesions. Sex at rave parties in Spain and Belgium is believed to be the cause of last year’s epidemic. Late last year, “mpox” became the new name for monkeypox, which is less accusatory terminology according to the CDC. Matthew Chayes, a reporter for Newsday since 2007, covers New York City.