Belgium’s Superior Health Council put forward vaccination with a smallpox vaccine for those who were not vaccinated against smallpox in childhood for individuals exposed to monkeypox.
Due to the limited stock of smallpox vaccines in Belgium, the Superior Health Council only recommends vaccination in the most necessary cases, in the first-place people who never received a smallpox vaccine as a child.
A Virologist at the Sciensano National Health Institute, Steven Van Gucht, shared the information that “A general vaccination campaign, such as for Covid-19, is absolutely out of the question in this case.”
Moreover, “With monkeypox, the recommendation is to consider vaccinating people who have potentially had a high-risk contact. But that can range from a few to over a dozen, depending on the situation,” he mentioned in the statement. “And with Belgium’s limited stock, we have to make choices.”
The Superior Health Council recommends a smallpox vaccination for those who are infected or have been exposed to someone with a confirmed infection (Within four days of exposure) if they come into contact with children, vulnerable people and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Along with this, if children, immunocompromised people, or pregnant or breastfeeding women themselves have had a high-risk contact, it is recommended that they contact a doctor, who will then investigate whether a vaccine is recommended.
“For those groups, a potential infection has the highest risk of leading to serious complications,” Van Gucht stated. “For a healthy man in his thirties, for example, the chances of complications are very low.”
Furthermore, he explained that this strategy is called “ring vaccination,” which aims to stop the spread of the virus by vaccinating those who are most likely to be infected: the contacts of confirmed patients, as well as people who are in close contact with those contacts.