David E. Koren, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, AAHIVP, FIDSA, infectious disease clinical pharmacist at Temple University Hospital, speaks on gaps in monkeypox vaccine availability and access and steps to improve response to the public health emergency.
Addressing the monkeypox public health emergency requires equitable access to vaccines, for which there remains major shortages, as well as increased testing and efforts to educate the general population on preventive practices, said David E. Koren, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, AAHIVP, FIDSA, infectious disease clinical pharmacist at Temple University Hospital.
What factors should be considered in order to improve response to the monkeypox public health emergency?
The major shortage we're seeing right now is with the amount of vaccine that's being rolled out across the United States, and we see varying degrees of rollout depending on a patient's locality. So, this may be different in a major urban center vs more rural areas of the country. And it's really being left to determine where we're really seeing the response as a whole.
That being said, we know that the vaccine is in short supply, and many people are in demand of it. And we are working with very limited data as well. So, everyone really needs to come together to say what can we do to 1, decrease stigma about it; 2, increase testing; and 3, prevent as many serious cases as possible through the rollout of vaccines.
Are there any further steps you would like to see regarding our response to monkeypox?
The next major step we need to see in the response is an increase in education, as well as a significant ramp up in vaccine delivery. We know that there is a shortage of vaccine and that is a problem that is very real, and unfortunately is not one that's going to be corrected immediately. But what we can do is we can make sure that we make the public as aware as possible. What can you do to decrease your risk of acquiring this infection? Furthermore, how can we prevent the infection from spreading from one person to another?