Mpox situation @ March 2023
• The mpox vaccine remains available in New Zealand. Further supply is anticipated to arrive later this year.
• The vaccine is not approved by MedSafe as yet so can only be made available undersection 29 of the Medicines Act 1981, which allows for it to be provided after a consultation with a medical practitioner where informed consent has been given.
• As it is unapproved in NZ, the vaccine itself cannot be promoted under Section 20 of the Medicines Act.
• That said, the vaccine has a good safety profile, has been approved internationally and is in use in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
• People who are concerned they may have or catch mpox should:
• Close physical contacts should vaccinate within four days after first exposure to mpox.
• In the initial phase, first doses are being prioritised for the eligible population. Timing of the recommended second dose is a minimum 28 day interval and can be up to 2 years after the first dose.
• This vaccine was developed for the prevention of both smallpox and mpox and has been used globally in 2022 for the prevention of mpox. It has a good safety profile and has been recommended by the mpox technical advisory group (NZ).
• It is given subcutaneously in NZ with side effects including local injection site reactions: (pain, redness, swelling and hardening), muscle aches, headache, fatigue, nausea and chills. A raised lump forms at the injection site which usually only lasts a few weeks but in some instances longer, or is permanent.
Information as at 15 March 2023