Monkeypox vaccination

German version / deutsche Fassung

Smallpox was eradicated through compulsory vaccination. Due to the emergence of monkeypox (MPX), discussions around smallpox vaccination as a possible means of protection have come up again. We have summarized the most important questions here.

The most important facts about monkeypox vaccination

  • A vaccine exists.
  • A previous smallpox vaccination also protects against monkeypox virus (MPXV).
  • There is no need for mass vaccination against smallpox.
  • People with HIV can also be vaccinated against smallpox.

Is there a vaccine against monkeypox virus (MPXV)?

Since 2013, the smallpox vaccine Imvanex has been licensed in Europe – in the U.S. and Canada the vaccine is also approved for monkeypox virus. According to the RKI, this vaccine is better tolerated than previous smallpox vaccines.

Am I protected if I have already been vaccinated against true smallpox (variola)?

smallpox vaccination scar

Vaccination against smallpox was mandatory until 1976 in the FRG and until 1982 in the GDR. Many born up to that time carry this typical smallpox vaccination scar on their upper arm. (Image: Cristian Storto Fotografia | iStockphoto)

According to the RKI, there is a justified assumption that the vaccination against smallpox (variola), which was mandatory in the FRG until 1976 and in the GDR until 1982, is also effective against the monkeypox viruses that have appeared now. They explain this with similarities between the two virus types.

Should everyone now be vaccinated against monkeypox (MPX)?

Currently, the RKI believes that there is little risk for the majority of the population of becoming infected with monkeypox virus (MPXV). "Vaccination is conceivable for certain contact persons," the current assessment of the RKI experts states. 

I would like to be vaccinated against monkeypox? How does it work?

The vaccine Imvanex is not yet available in Germany. So far, the vaccine has only been approved in Europe against smallpox—but not against monkeypox. In addition, there is currently no recommendation to get a vaccination.

People who fear that they are at particular risk should talk to their doctor. We will provide information about any vaccination recommendations in a timely manner.

Can people with HIV also be vaccinated?

In principle, people with HIV can also receive booster vaccinations or initial vaccinations with Imvanex, according to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, it has been observed that in people with weaker or weakened immune systems, the vaccination might be less effective.