Thailand has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) for support in providing a smallpox vaccine, as a precaution against Monkeypox, after the country has relaxed travel restrictions on overseas arrivals from many countries, including those where Monkeypox has been detected.
The request for a smallpox vaccine was conveyed to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva on Wednesday by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul during a courtesy visit to the new director. Anutin was in Geneva to attend the 75th World Health Assembly.
Thailand has no reserves of smallpox vaccine, as the virus was eradicated from the world several decades ago. The last recorded naturally occurring case earth was in 1977.
At the informal meeting, Anutin also invited the WHO director to attend the official opening of the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED), which will take place in Bangkok on August 25.e†
The health minister told media yesterday (Thursday) that a technical committee of the Thai National Communicable Disease Committee has classified Monkeypox as a monitored infectious disease, although no cases have been detected in Thailand yet.
He said measures have been taken to screen overseas arrivals from countries where Monkeypox has been detected.
Anutin also said that while in Geneva, he witnessed the signing of an agreement on sharing COVID-19-related knowledge and resources between the Thai Ministry of Disease Control and WHO, designating Thailand as the core country for the WHO BioHub System.
Meanwhile, the Department of Disease Control dismissed a report that Monkeypox was detected on Chang Island, off Trat Province, as fake news and urged the public not to panic.
However, the department added that several people on the island are infected with Plasmodium knowlesi malaria, which can be transmitted from primates to humans through the bite of the striped mosquito.
On May 25, the department said 309 people in 22 countries were infected with Monkeypox.