France has ordered 1.5 million doses of the Imvanex vaccine, manufactured by the Danish laboratory Bavarian Nordic, to fight against the spread of monkeypox, reveals this Sunday the JDD. On July 19, Bavarian Nordic had indeed indicated that an “undisclosed” country had precisely ordered this quantity of vaccine, in addition to the order from the European Union in June for 100,000 doses. It would therefore be France, according to the Sunday newspaper.
criticized for slow vaccination campaign and on the lack of slots for those most at risk, the Minister of Health François Braun had refused to give the number of doses available in France, simply saying that the country had a “very large stock” doses without revealing the exact figure, classified as a defense secret because of the bacterioterrorist risk. In all, 250,000 people have been identified as “at risk”, including men who have sex with men, sex workers and caregivers.
According to the JDD, it is precisely this secret prevention plan against the bioterrorism risk, and the resulting vaccine orders, which have enabled France to maintain privileged relations with Bavarian Nordic, “in the context of confidential contracts”.
What do we know about this vaccine?
Authorized in Europe since 2013, the Imvanex vaccine is originally indicated against smallpoxa deadly disease eradicated in 1980. The European Commission approved its extension against monkeypox.
Smallpox and monkeypox are members of the “orthopoxvirus” family. The vaccine uses a third virus of this family, genetically close, that of the vaccinia, harmless in humans. It educates the immune system by confronting the body with a virus similar to the one to be fought. Moreover, it was the vaccine that originally made it possible, in the 18th century, to develop this principle of vaccination.
This is a “third generation” vaccine, “improved compared to the previous two to limit side effects”says Yannick Simonin, lecturer at the University of Montpellier, specialist in emerging viruses.
Two doses of vaccine are recommended for most eligible people. For those vaccinated against smallpox in the past, one dose is sufficient. For the immunocompromised, a third is recommended.