Monkeypox is an emerging threat to humans since a new outbreak in May 2022. It is hypothesised that increasing the immunologically naive population after the cessation of the smallpox vaccination campaign in the 1980s is one of the leading causes of it. A literature search was conducted using different electronic databases including MEDLINE (through PubMed), SCOPUS, Web of Science, Cochrane library, and EMBASE for relevant studies. After duplication removal, abstract and title screening, and full-text screening were done, the data were extracted, tabulated, and analysed. The risk of bias was assessed following the Risk of Bias Assessment tool for Non-randomised Studies. We found a total of 1068 relevant articles and finally, we included 6 articles including 2083 participants. The studies suggested that smallpox is 80.7% efficacious to prevent human monkeypox and the immunity provided by prior smallpox vaccination is long-lasting. Moreover, the smallpox vaccination decreases the risk of human monkeypox by 5.2-folds. Two cross-sectional studies based on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) including a total of around 1800 monkeypox cases found that unvaccinated participants had 2.73 and 9.64-fold increased risk of monkeypox compared to the vaccinated participants. Other studies in USA and Spain also demonstrated that unvaccinated people were more prone to develop monkeypox than vaccinated people. Furthermore, monkeypox incidence has increased by 20 folds, 30 years after the cessation of the smallpox vaccination campaign in DRC. Evidence-based preventive and therapeutic agents are still not available for human monkeypox. Further study should be done to explore the role of the smallpox vaccine in preventing human monkeypox.

  • All age groups
  • Efficacy/effectiveness