U.S. will divide vaccine into smaller doses to allow more people to be vaccinated
Canada will not shift its approach to administering monkeypox vaccines yet to allow for them to be divided up into much smaller doses, which the U.S. has done in order to vaccinate many more people than the current strategy.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said during a press conference Friday that Canada has no plans right now to recommend changes to the vaccination strategy to allow for fractional doses to be administered across the country.
"We've been connecting, of course, with our U.S. colleagues to look at their strategy and see if we can gather as much information as we can. There's limited data, but I think it is an important approach to explore," she said.
"But for now, working together with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization [NACI], we're really pushing out the approach of one dose first to reach as many people as possible in our most highly impacted populations, and we will be looking at the interval and the timing and need for that second dose with [NACI]."
WATCH | U.S. moves to stretch monkeypox vaccine supply with smaller doses:
Canada now has more than 1,000 monkeypox cases
As Canada hits more than 1,000 cases of Monkeypox, public health officials say we have enough vaccine supply. In the U.S., health officials are giving smaller doses of the monkeypox vaccine to stretch limited supplies.
The U.S. shifted its vaccination strategy earlier this week to allow for the use of just one fifth of a full dose of the vaccine, made by the Danish company Bavarian Nordic, to stretch out supply and cover more people after the approach was deemed safe and effective.
The vaccine will now be delivered into the skin in the U.S. rather than deeper into a muscle, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization that allowed for the use of fractional doses of the vaccine to people aged 18 and older.
More than 1,000 cases in Canada
There are now 1,059 monkeypox cases across Canada, with the bulk of them in Ontario and Quebec, amid a growing global outbreak that has spread to dozens of countries around the world in the past few months.
WATCH | Canada records more than 1,000 monkeypox cases:
U.S. to stretch monkeypox vaccine supply with smaller doses
Americans will receive one-fifth of the standard dose of monkeypox vaccine as U.S. health officials look for a way to immunize more at-risk people with a limited supply of doses. CBC's Natasha Fatah reports.
In Canada and around the world, the current outbreak of the disease, also known as MPXV, has overwhelmingly affected men who have sex with men and can cause painful lesions that take weeks to heal.
Tam said more than 99 per cent of MPXV cases in Canada are in men and the median age of those infected is 35. Late last month, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) urged gay and bisexual men to practise safe sex and limit the number of sexual partners, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus among sexual networks.
Globally, Tam said there are now more than 31,000 cases reported in more than 91 countries, with a 19 per cent increase in cases this week over the previous week.
Tam said that it was "too soon to tell" if cases were slowing or plateauing in Canada, although there may be "some early signs" that cases are not increasing at the same rate as at the beginning of the outbreak.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus classified the outbreak as a global emergency late last month, calling the rapid spread of the virus worldwide an "extraordinary" situation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Miller is a senior health writer with CBC News. He's covered health, politics and breaking news extensively in Canada for over a decade, in addition to several years reporting on news and current affairs throughout Asia.
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