Today, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has advised on intradermal use of monkeypox vaccine. EMA’s Emergency Task Force (ETF) has reviewed data showing that people who receive the monkeypox vaccine as an intradermal injection (injection into the skin) produce similar levels of antibodies to those who receive it as a subcutaneous injection (injection under the skin). As only one fifth of a dose is necessary for intradermal vaccination compared to subcutaneous injection, this new recommendation will help to protect many more people with the available doses.
Welcoming the recommendation, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said: “Today’s very important recommendation by the European Medicines Agency for a new strategy of intradermal vaccination for monkeypox will allow Member States to vaccinate five times as many people with the vaccine supply available in the EU. This ensures greater access to vaccination for citizens at risk and healthcare workers.
We have been working relentlessly from day one to support Member States to tackle the monkeypox outbreak. In a short space of time, the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) led and coordinated two purchases totalling over 160,000 doses of vaccines, before the WHO declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. They were financed for the first time by the EU budget as a direct procurement, making sure that they reach Member States and citizens as quickly as possible, to meet urgent and immediate needs. Within weeks, deliveries had started for Member States most in need, and they will continue to accelerate in the coming days and weeks.
To meet our Member States’ medium-term needs, HERA launched a joint procurement procedure for additional vaccines as well as for therapeutics. All of this shows that the Commission took swift action to acquire vaccines for our citizens. These actions combined with today’s recommendation by EMA will ensure quicker protection of the most vulnerable and speed up vaccination for citizens at risk. This is a true European Health Union in action.
We will continue to coordinate our response to this outbreak closely with our Member States in the weeks and months ahead on vital issues such as increasing reporting, defining vaccination strategies, giving clear information to our citizens, and procuring therapeutics and further vaccines. As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown, we are stronger when we work together.”
The Commission is committed to build a stronger and active European Health Union that is prepared and able to respond to emerging health threats. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of coordination among European countries and the added value of a common response in face of cross-border health threats.
The European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) is a key pillar of the European Health Union and a fundamental asset to strengthen the EU’s health emergency response and preparedness. HERA was established in October 2021 to replace ad hoc approaches for pandemic response with a permanent structure with adequate tools and resources to plan ahead the EU action in case of health emergencies. HERA will anticipate threats and potential health crises, through intelligence gathering and building the necessary response capacities.
From the onset of the monkeypox outbreak, the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) has been, alongside other Commission services and Member States, closely following the evolution of the outbreak in Europe and supporting the preparedness and response efforts of all Member States.