A Vaccine for Smallpox and Monkeypox

FDA approves Jynneos vaccine to prevent smallpox and monkeypox

On September 26, 2019 The US Food Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new vaccine to prevent smallpox and monkeypox.

Food and Drug Administration for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox disease in adult 18 years or older who are considered at high risk for infection, the agency announced this week. This vaccine is called Jynneos. It’s the first vaccine ever approved to prevent monkeypox disease.

In the United States, routine vaccination for smallpox was stopped in 1972 because the disease was deemed eliminated. In fact, the last natural outbreak of smallpox in the US occurred in 1949. In 1980, the World Health Organization indicated that smallpox disease was eliminated.

“Therefore, although naturally occurring smallpox disease is no longer a global threat, the intentional release of this highly contagious virus could have a devastating effect,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a press release. “Today’s approval reflects the U.S. government’s commitment to preparedness through support for the development of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and other medical countermeasures.”

Smallpox, caused by the variola virus, is highly contagious. It is spread by saliva and droplets from the nose or mouth. The virus can also spread through contaminated clothes and bedding.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. This virus is transmitted to people from wild animals, such as rodents and primates. Monkeypox does not naturally happen in the US. However, in 2003, there was a monkeypox outbreak in the US. This case was the first time human monkeypox was reported outside of Africa.

Although the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox, they tend to be milder. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion.

Jynneos is not made of the viruses that cause monkeypox or smallpox. Instead, it is made from a related virus that is less harmful but can build up protection against both illnesses.

Jynneos is available as two doses that are given four weeks apart. The most commonly reported side effects included injection-site reactions like pain, redness, itching, swelling and firmness at the injection site. Other side effects may include muscle pain, headache and fatigue.

Please Contact Our Vaccination Service Staff for More Information About This Vaccine

Molecules in Vitamins and Minerals

Small molecules that can help maintain good health

Vitamins and minerals are substances that play important roles in the body’s processes, such as metabolism, immunity and digestion. They ensure healthy cell growth, function, and development and are vital to good health.

There are two types of vitamins:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat.
  • Water-soluble vitamins are used quickly, and extra amounts of these vitamins are removed as urine.

Too much of any vitamin or mineral can be harmful to the body. The health consequences of taking excessive amounts of certain vitamins can be serious.

But vitamin deficiencies can also increase health risks. Heart disease, cancer and poor bone health can result from not getting enough of certain vitamins. Minerals are also necessary to keep organ systems regulated. It is important to get the right amount of both vitamins and minerals.

There are 13 vitamins that people need (essential vitamins). These include the following:

  • Vitamin A helps with the skin and vision. Carrots are full of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin B has a variety of functions. Most types help with cell function and converting nutrients to energy.
    • B1 (thiamine) helps nerve function and assists with processing carbohydrates. Foods like breads and cereals are usually fortified with thiamine.
    • B2 (riboflavin) breaks down food into energy. Dairy, eggs and meat contain this.
    • B3 (niacin) controls cholesterol and improves brain function. It is found in meat products like poultry and fish.
    • B5 (pantothenic acid) converts fat to energy and is involved with hormone production. Sources include whole grains and eggs.
    • B6 (pyridoxine) helps with nervous system function. It can be found in meat and poultry.
    • B7 (biotin) aids in hormone production and energy storage. This is found in avocados and meat products.
    • B9 (folate) prevents birth defect development. This is important for women of childbearing age. Vegetables contain folate, but supplementation is sometimes necessary.
    • B12 (cyanocobalamin) is needed for cell regulation and energy. It is found in dairy products. Oral or injectable supplements may be required.
  • Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, wound healing and immunity. Citrus fruits like oranges are a common source of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption and bone health. Most vitamin D comes from the sun. Ten to 15 minutes in the sun three times per week is often sufficient.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents unstable molecules from damaging the body. Cereals and nuts are a good source of vitamin E.
  • Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and bone health. Sources include dark, leafy vegetables.

Minerals are also required for healthy living. They help keep organs functioning. Macrominerals are necessary in higher amounts:

  • Calcium helps with bone and teeth formation. Dairy products are a great source of calcium.
  • Phosphorus is necessary for bone formation and energy production and storage. It also helps carry nutrients in the body. Many dairy products contain phosphorus.
  • Magnesium is important for heart rhythm, muscle contraction and blood pressure control. It can be found in green vegetables.
  • Sodium balances body fluid and sends nerve signals. It is important to limit sodium to less than 1,500 mg per day. Even modestly lowering sodium intake can help keep your blood pressure controlled.
  • Potassium balances body fluid and helps the heart. Potassium is found in many fruits, such as bananas.
  • Chloride helps with converting food to energy. Celery and other vegetables can provide chloride.

Another mineral of note is iron. Iron is found in red blood cells and helps carry oxygen throughout the body. Women and vegetarians tend to be deficient in iron. Leaving such a deficiency untreated can cause anemia. This is when red blood cells cannot properly carry iron, which causes poor oxygen delivery.

It is easier to get some vitamins and minerals than others. Certain conditions may have specific vitamin or mineral needs. Patients on blood thinners need to watch their vitamin K, for example. Patients with kidney conditions require potassium monitoring. Certain heart conditions warrant sodium restrictions. A health care provider can provide insight on your unique nutritional needs.

The evidence on multivitamin use for overall health or disease prevention is mixed. Certain groups may benefit more from multivitamins. These include women of childbearing age, patients over 60 or strict vegetarians. But no multivitamin is a substitute for a healthy diet. Deficiencies should be approached on an individual basis. And it is important to make sure that adding supplements on top of a multivitamin will not put you over the maximum daily limit for any nutrient.

Daily nutritional needs will vary from person to person. Blood work can reveal deficiencies and guide supplement recommendations. Talking to a doctor or dietitian is the best way to determine whether your body is getting what it needs.

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