Canada’s top doctor says negotiations are underway for more vaccine to contain monkeypox as the number of confirmed cases across the country reached 278.
Chief public health official Theresa Tam says there are “ongoing talks and contract negotiations” to obtain doses from Bavarian Nordic, the Danish manufacturer of a smallpox vaccine approved for use against monkeypox.
She says current doses come from Canada’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile for targeted use in high-risk areas.
That includes Quebec, where Tam says more than 7,000 people have been vaccinated, and Ontario, where she estimates about 5,000 people have been vaccinated.
She says counties have the supply they need now, but federal officials are watching closely as regions reduce the supply.
Tam says that as of June 29, 202 confirmed cases of monkeypox had been reported from Quebec, 67 from Ontario, five from Alberta and four from British Columbia.
The majority of cases are males between the ages of 20 and 69, and the majority reported intimate sexual contact with other males, although the risk of monkeypox is not exclusive to any group or environment.
Tam stressed that anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, can become infected if they come into close contact with someone who has monkey pox, or if they come into contact with personal items belonging to someone who is infected, including towels or bedding.
Bavarian Nordic said earlier this month that the Public Health Agency of Canada had agreed to a $56 million five-year contract to purchase their Imvamune vaccine.
Deliveries are expected to begin in 2023.
Tam won’t comment on how much is left in Canada’s stockpile, but said provinces that now carry out vaccinations “have what they need.”
“We have had very close bilateral discussions with provinces about the offer as they begin to appeal to the offer assigned to their particular jurisdiction,” Tam said on Thursday.
“Of course there are ongoing discussions and contract negotiations with Bavarian Nordic, the manufacturer, to gain access to more.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 30, 2022.