Danish drugmaker to supply monkeypox vaccine to Europe

COPENHAGEN (AFP): Denmark’s Bavarian Nordic, the lone laboratory manufacturing a licensed vaccine against monkeypox, said Thursday it had signed a deal to supply European nations with up to two million doses of the jab.

A joint procurement agreement was penned with the European Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), Bavarian Nordic said in a statement.

The arrangement allows EU members and countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as some Balkan states to purchase the vaccine.

“So far, 14 eligible countries have already confirmed their participation in the joint procurement, indicating an initial demand of a total of approximately 700,000 doses for delivery in 2023,” the drugmaker said, adding that 330,000 doses had been purchased and distributed through HERA since July this year, when cases peaked.

Experts and health authorities have warned against claiming victory too soon.

The World Health Organization (WHO) decided on November 1 that the spread of the disease still met the “criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern”, a designation it was first given on July 23.

Since monkeypox began spreading beyond the West African countries where it has long been endemic six months ago, it has killed 36 people out of more than 77,000 cases across 109 countries, the WHO says.

The outbreak outside of West Africa has primarily affected young men who have sex with men.

The disease causes fever, muscular aches and large boil-like skin lesions.