Monday, April 22, 2024

Medsafe urges mpox vaccine reporting

The Ministry of Health’s medicine regulatory arm Medsafe is encouraging people to report any suspected adverse reactions to the mpox vaccine after two reports of a possible link to pericarditis.

Pericarditis is treatable, particularly with early detection and diagnosis, the Ministry said.

“Anyone receiving the vaccine is already alerted to the possible risk of pericarditis as a rare potential side effect of the mpox vaccine,” it said.

“Medsafe is reminding vaccinated people to seek urgent medical attention if they experience symptoms following vaccination.”

Medsafe says that early alerts are just that – an early indication that there may be something there that needs to be looked at more closely.   

“We are investigating this safety signal but need more information which is why we are encouraging reporting,” said Medsafe group manager, Chris James.

He said Medsafe will be reviewing information from overseas as part of their investigations.

Medsafe has provided information about their alert to those running the vaccine programme in Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ as part of its usual process for informing key sector groups.

The Ministry’s Public Health Agency has also convened an expert group to consider the information available and to advise on next steps.

Director of Public Health, Dr Nick Jones says the experts agreed vaccination should continue to be made available to groups most at risk of mpox but recommended a temporary delay in second doses for people other than those with immune disorders while further information is sought.

The group noted that while two doses were recommended, good levels of protection were provided by a single dose in the medium term and advised that a delay in the second dose might also improve long term protection. 

Dr Jones says the technical advisory group also recommended a slight change in the way the vaccine is delivered. 

“Vaccination will continue to be available only after a consultation with a prescribing doctor and prescribers are being provided with updated information about possible risks to inform those seeking vaccination,” he said.

“Medsafe will continue to closely monitor adverse reports within New Zealand and to check on any international developments.”

Anyone concerned or wanting more information should contact Healthline on 0800 611 116.

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