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Scientific Committees under CHP update consensus interim recommendations on use of monkeypox vaccine in Hong Kong
     The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (JSC) under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health convened an online meeting yesterday (September 15) to discuss the use of the monkeypox vaccine in Hong Kong. The updated consensus interim recommendations have been published today (September 16).
     The meeting revisited the target groups for pre-exposure vaccination and practical issues in relation to the use of the monkeypox vaccine. The JSC reviewed the latest epidemiology of monkeypox and the latest scientific evidence, as well as recommendations by the World Health Organization and overseas health authorities, and took local context into account in making the updated recommendations.
     Noting the latest global epidemiology of monkeypox showing the dominant affected group was men having sex with men (MSM) who have multiple sexual partners and there were practical challenges to identify and reach sexual contacts in this group via contact tracing for post-exposure vaccination, the JSC considered individuals at high risk of exposure, importantly but not exclusively gay, bisexual and other MSM with certain high-risk sexual practices or history of sexually transmitted infection within the past 12 months, should be included as a target group for pre-exposure vaccination against monkeypox with the highest priority on a voluntary basis.
     Other target groups for pre-exposure vaccination, in order of priority, could include other high-risk groups in the community (examples include sex workers, participants in group sex or persons having multiple sexual partners), healthcare workers responsible for care of confirmed monkeypox patients, laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses, staff responsible for decontamination of environments contaminated by confirmed cases following case-by-case assessment, and animal care personnel with a high risk of exposure in case of monkeypox occurrence in animals in Hong Kong.
     The experts also highlighted that vaccination should be given on a voluntary basis rather than mandatory.
     Regarding the administration of the monkeypox vaccine, the meeting reaffirmed the interim recommendations made in June in respect of choice of vaccine and the number of doses required (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/consensus_interim_recommendations_on_the_use_of_monkeypox_vaccines_in_hong_kong_16_june_2022.pdf). The experts also recommended the third-generation vaccine for use in adults at this juncture. Post-exposure vaccination for individuals aged less than 18 with high-risk exposure should be offered in emergency situations on a case-by-case basis following a careful evaluation of risks and benefits.
     Noting the results of a related clinical trial and overseas practice, the JSC regarded the intradermal route for administration of one-fifth of the volume of a full dose of third-generation modified vaccinia vaccine for immunocompetent adults as an alternative dosing regime and antigen-sparing measure if there is limited vaccine supply locally.
     Details of the interim recommendations are available at the CHP's website at www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/24008.html.
Ends/Friday, September 16, 2022
Issued at HKT 15:27
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