EU Will Buy 110,000 Monkeypox Vaccines As Global Outbreak Grows

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Robert Hart   Forbes U.S. Staff

EU Will Buy 110,000 Monkeypox Vaccines As Global Outbreak Grows

European Commissioner in charge of Health Stella Kyriakides said the bloc will buy 110,000 monkeypox vaccines. AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Topline

The European Union on Tuesday will ink a deal for 110,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine, the bloc’s health commissioner Stella Kyriakides announced, as officials around the world move to secure scarce supplies of treatments and vaccines needed to contain the growing outbreak.

Key Facts

The vaccines will be delivered from the end of June, Kyriakides said.

In her announcement, Kyriakides did not say what vaccine manufacturer the bloc had reached an agreement with, though Danish biotech Bavarian Nordic later revealed it had made the deal with the European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

The European Commission created HERA in September 2021 to strengthen the bloc’s ability to anticipate and respond to health threats, including procuring and distributing medicines and vaccines centrally.

The decision marks the first time the bloc will use EU funds to purchase vaccines for distribution to member states, Kyriakides said, adding that they will be “available quickly to member states in need.”

Tangent

There is no vaccine authorized for use against monkeypox in Europe, though several are authorized for use against smallpox. Smallpox, one of history’s biggest killers that was eradicated through a global vaccination campaign, is a similar virus to monkeypox and treatments and vaccines developed for it are also effective against monkeypox. Bavarian Nordic produces the only vaccine authorized for use against monkeypox in the world—the U.S. and Canada have approved it for the virus—though it is only approved for smallpox in Europe.

What To Watch For

Kyriakides spoke at the sidelines of a meeting of European health ministers. She said the group will discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, strategies for the winter and whether EU members will have vaccines adapted to variants for upcoming immunization campaigns. Kyriakides also said the group will discuss the need for a global health strategy to “combat common challenges together.”

Big Number

900. That’s how many confirmed cases of monkeypox Kyriakides said there are in Europe. This makes up the majority of global cases identified outside of areas in Africa where the disease is normally found. More than 1,600 cases have been confirmed, according to public health data compiled by Global.Health, a team of researchers and technologists tracking the outbreak. Forty nine have been confirmed in the U.S., according to the group’s data.

Author image

Robert Hart   Forbes U.S. Staff

I am a London-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news. Previously, I have worked as a reporter for a specialist legal publication covering big data and as a freelance journalist and policy analyst covering science, tech and health. I have a master’s degree in Biological Natural Sciences and a master’s degree in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge.