[VACCINEWatch]: Is there a link between the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and monkeypox?

By June 28, 2022 COVID-19, Health, Vaccine

We came across this post on Facebook:

The author suggests a link between the recent surge of monkeypox cases and an ingredient in the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely the chimpanzee adenovirus vector. The post also contains a link to an Australian government page containing information about the vaccine which confirms that the chimpanzee adenovirus is present in the vaccine.

While it is true that the AstraZeneca vaccine does contain a type of virus derived from chimpanzees, it is not from the same family of diseases responsible for monkeypox. The virus vector used in the AstraZeneca vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector, a harmless, weakened adenovirus that usually causes the common cold in chimpanzees. In contrast, monkeypox is a poxvirus which is an entirely different strain of virus which shares no resemblance with the adenovirus present in the AstraZeneca vaccine.

According to the South China Morning Post and Associated Press who investigated this claim, the claim is flawed on three levels. Firstly, as explained above, the poxvirus and adenovirus are completely different with no relationship whatsoever to each other. Therefore, there is no possibility of cross-reactivity in terms of antibody responses between the two.

Next, there is no possibility that the adenovirus used in the AstraZeneca vaccine can cause any infections in humans as the gene that would enable it to multiply was completely excised for the vaccine. These genetic changes make it impossible for the adenovirus to grow in humans which was also mentioned in the link cited in the original post.

Finally, while the claim suggests that monkeypox should in fact be called chimpanzeepox, it’s a misnomer that monkeypox is actually spread by monkeys. According to Dr. David Freedman, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who spoke with the Associated Press, “In reality, monkeypox is very rarely spread by monkeys, it’s spread by rodents. It was described as monkeypox because it was identified in a monkey once upon a time when they first named it, but it’s actually mainly spread by rodents.” Dr Freedman added that neither monkeys or chimps are natural hosts for monkeypox.

Based on the evidence and the factchecks conducted on this claim that have debunked it for the reasons stated above, it is false that the AstraZeneca vaccine is linked to the monkeypox outbreak.

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