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Preventative mpox vaccinations expanded to vulnerable groups

May 8, 2023 - 18:22 By Lim Jae-seong

South Korea began expanding preventative vaccinations against mpox to members of unspecified vulnerable groups on Monday, while the total number of cases of infection reached 60 as of 12 a.m. that day.

Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency is offering preventive shots of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine to groups considered more susceptible to mpox infection on a reservation basis. The government has secured 5,000 doses of the vaccine and plans to secure more, the agency announced Monday.

The move follows the increased community transmission of mpox within South Korea. Of the 60 infected until Wednesday, 52 had neither a history of traveling overseas nor were found to have had contact with anyone infected with mpox while abroad in the three weeks before being diagnosed.

Previously, the government had offered preventative vaccinations only to medical personnel, diagnosis and epidemiological survey agents or disease researchers.

The agency has received 1,119 reservations from members of vulnerable groups, who were privately notified of their eligibility for the vaccination by the government and 158 are getting shots on the first day of their availability.

The government did not disclose to the public the standards of eligibility or how to apply for the vaccination, saying only that it is contacting eligible individuals privately, stating that there are concerns about their privacy and human rights.

Of the total number of infections as of Wednesday, 42 cases, or 86 percent, were suspected to have been transmitted through sexual contact with unacquainted persons.

The regimen for the Jynneos vaccine, developed by Denmark-headquartered vaccine producer Bavarian Nordic, consists of two subcutaneous shots with an interval of 28 days. It prevents infection in 86 people out of 100.