The Standing Committee on Vaccination recommends vaccination against monkeypox for certain people. Meanwhile, the number of cases in Germany continues to rise.

According to the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko), adults who have had close contact with a person infected with monkeypox or who have an increased risk of infection should in future receive a vaccination against monkeypox.

The Stiko published the recommendation. The draft decision of the recommendation now has to go through a so-called commenting procedure with the federal states and the specialist groups involved, so it is not yet a final recommendation.

So far 113 infections in Germany

The background to the recommendation is the unusual increase in monkeypox infections in numerous European countries over the past few weeks. According to the Robert Koch Institute, 131 infections were registered in Germany as of Thursday, so far only in men. The day before there were 113. The smallpox vaccine Imvanex, which can also be used to protect against monkeypox, is approved in the EU, writes Stiko in its statement.

According to the will of the committee, the vaccination should now be given to adults who have had “close physical contact via non-intact skin or mucous membranes” with a sick person or longer “unprotected face-to-face contact”. The latter are people who have been unprotected near an infected person for a long time, at a distance of less than one meter. People who have come into contact with a sick person or the virus in medical care without protective equipment, as well as laboratory workers who accidentally came into contact with monkeypox material, are also to be vaccinated. The vaccination should be administered as soon as possible within 14 days.

These people are particularly at risk

The second group for which vaccination should be recommended are people with an increased risk of exposure. The Stiko names men who have same-sex sexual contacts with different partners. The reason for this recommendation is that the cases in Germany have so far only occurred among homosexual men. In addition, staff from special laboratories may be eligible for preventive vaccination.

Since the vaccine will initially only be available to a limited extent, according to Stiko, preference should be given to people from the first group. For the basic immunization, two doses of vaccine are needed about a month apart. People who have already been vaccinated against smallpox only need one dose. In order to combat the outbreak, in addition to vaccination, it is important, among other things, to identify cases and contact persons at an early stage, to initiate isolation and quarantine quickly and to educate risk groups.