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Canada not moving to stretch out supply of monkeypox vaccine yet

U.S. will divide vaccine into smaller doses to allow more people to be vaccinated

Two hands are filling up a syringe in a vaccine vial.

A health-care worker prepares monkeypox vaccine in Montreal, Saturday, July 23, 2022. Tourists are among those lining up to get monkeypox vaccines in Montreal as the World Health Organization declares the virus a global health emergency.

Photo:  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

RCI

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

2 days agoDuration2:02As 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 (new window) 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 (new window) 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

2 days agoDuration2:10Americans 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 (new window) 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 (new window) late last month, calling the rapid spread of the virus worldwide an extraordinary situation.

Adam Miller (new window) · CBC News

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