How the monkeypox vaccine that arrives in Chile works

In Chile, nearly 600 cases of monkeypox have been registered. This includes confirmed and probable cases of this disease, according to official records from the Ministry of Health.

The announcement of another vaccination process in the midst of the one caused by Covid-19 can cause uncertainty in the population. Given this, the doctor in Biological Sciences and researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences UNAB, Gloria Arriagada, answers the most important points to understand how the monkeypox vaccine works.

How does the monkeypox vaccine work?

This is an attenuated virus vaccine, where the virus has been modified vaccinia so it can protect against classical smallpox and also monkeypox. The virusvaccinia It is with which smallpox vaccines were formulated and that allowed its eradication worldwide in the 70s.

The vaccine is put through a small skin lesion where the attenuated virus is inoculated, this will be detected by the immune system and can generate immunological memory, which means that the immune system recognizes the virus and eliminates it, in case of an infection. Two doses 28 days apart are required for full immunity.

If the vaccine is for close contacts this time, can it be effective if the person has already been infected?

The vaccine that arrives in Chile can be used as post-exposure prophylaxis, this means that it could eventually be used in close contacts of a diagnosed person even when they are already infected, but not if they already show symptoms.

Post-exposure prophylaxis can be done because in this case the incubation period is several days from infection. Let us remember that vaccines have two purposes: to stop the infection and, therefore, the circulation of a virus and/or to prevent the development of the disease.

Detractors of the Covid vaccine generally argue that it is an experimental vaccine, what happens in the case of this vaccine?

This is not an experimental vaccine, it is a vaccine that has been approved, at least by the CDC, since 2019 and has been produced to have a line of defense against a possible resurgence of smallpox and the possible emergence of monkeypox.

This is important because in the late 1970s smallpox vaccination was stopped in many countries when its eradication was declared, so all people born later are not protected against smallpox.

Are there any significant risks associated with this inoculation?

No, there are no risks associated with inoculation with this vaccine, only swelling of the inoculation area has been observed in some people, like the vaccine that they gave us in first grade; fever, muscle aches, and headache