First vaccines for monkeypox in late August

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The arrival in Cyprus of the first vaccines for monkeypox is expected around the end of August, Ministry of Health official Konstantinos Athanasiou told CNA.

He said the delay is due to the company that produces the vaccines, with priority currently given to the countries most in need.

And Cyprus has yet to discover a monkeypox case.

After WHO declared a global public health emergency for monkeypox, the arrival of vaccines depends on the epidemiological situation of each country.

Around 1,400 doses of the vaccine were expected in Cyprus last Monday; however, due to the global alarm and the prioritisation of countries with more cases, the vaccines didn’t arrive in the country.

Although no case has been identified in Cyprus, the Ministry of Health has prepared a plan to manage the disease since June.

Regional WHO office

Actions for the operation in Cyprus of a regional office of the World Health Organisation “are on track,” with it expected to be up and running within the year.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela held a telephone conversation with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday, during which they would also discuss this matter, among other things.

According to Athanasiou, the WHO office will be located in Cyprus to cover the countries of the Mediterranean basin and Southeastern Europe.

Cypriot experts and a WHO official will staff the Cyprus office, mainly dealing with infectious diseases.

Athanasiou said Cyprus was chosen because of its geopolitical position, adding that Nicosia also requested.

The agreement is expected to be signed soon by the Minister of Health and the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge.