The African continent is set to receive its first batch of mpox vaccines, 50,000 doses in all, as a donation from South Korea, according to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The doses will be given to health workers and people living in the hardest-hit areas. But no timing was given for the doses’ arrival.
There have been 202 deaths recorded from mpox in the continent with a death rate of 19.3 percent across 13 countries.
Acting CDC Director Ahmed Ogwell noted that there were 51 new mpox cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week and said Ghana and Nigeria are the other most affected countries in Africa.
On Monday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it would start using “mpox” as the preferred term for what had been known as monkeypox, to avoid racism and stigmatisation stemming from the existing name.
In the last months, the UN has also criticised news coverage about the disease, warning that poor reporting can “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma”.
In June, WHO had said it was in the process of procuring thousands of mpox tests for Africa but was not recommending mass vaccination at this stage, its Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said.