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High risk to be offered second monkeypox vaccine to slow spread


SEXUAL health clinics are offering a second monkeypox vaccine to people who are at high risk.

Those who are most vulnerable will continue to be offered the vaccine while some clinics will offer a second dose to eligible people.

High risk people are to be offered a second monkeypox vaccine to slow the spread

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High risk people are to be offered a second monkeypox vaccine to slow the spreadCredit: Getty

The latest outbreak data shows monkeypox cases are continuing to spread across the UK, although the rate has slowed.

Vaccines had already been rolled out across the country to the most at risk groups – but suppliers had recently warned that stocks were waning.

Cases of the virus have continued to rise globally, with 3,585 infections having been picked up in the UK.

More than 45,000 people have received the vaccine so far.

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Health officials have given over 40,000 doses to men who have sex with other men as they have been deemed the highest risk.

Second doses will be offered from around two to three months after the first dose to maximise protection.

The NHS will contact those who are eligible for another vaccination.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, chair of the JCVI, said it’s important the vaccines are managed in way that puts those most at risk first.

He said: “The JCVI has endorsed the UKHSA’s proposal that vaccination to protect against monkeypox should continue to be prioritised for those at highest risk of exposure to the virus, including offering second doses to individuals once they become eligible.

“This approach will ensure the globally-limited supplies are used most effectively, continuing to break chains of transmission, as well as providing those at highest risk of exposure with longer-lasting protection.

“The use of the intradermal vaccination method at some clinics also means more doses can be drawn from the vials, helping to maximise the reach of the UK’s supplies and ensure second doses for all those eligible.

“The JCVI will keep the offer of monkeypox vaccination under review to ensure it continues to have the maximum impact on the current outbreak.”

Other monkepox symptoms to look out for

If you get infected with monkeypox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.

The signs may include:

1.Fever

2. Headache

3. Muscle aches

4. Backache

5. Chills

6. Exhaustion

7. Night sweats

8. Cold-like symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose

9. Swollen lymph nodes

10. Swollen groin

11. Rash

Complications of the illness were documented as:

12. Low mood

13. Severe pain

14. Conjunctivitis

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Deputy Director, Public Health Programmes at UKHSA said the focus is on preventing further infections.

He said: “It’s encouraging that we’re continuing to see fewer cases of monkeypox reported in the UK and we are grateful to everyone who has followed advice about potential symptoms, isolated as part of this outbreak or come forward for a vaccination to help limit transmission.

“Prioritising vaccine stock where possible for second doses for those at highest risk will help us maximise protection and interrupt transmission. When you are called forward for vaccination, please take up the offer.”

‘FRACTION DOSING’

Health experts says vaccines are being “stretched five-fold” to meet demand.

Medics at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) previously said jabs will be piloted in smaller doses, stretching existing supply and protecting more people.

It’s a method known as ‘fraction dosing’ and has commonly been used in other outbreaks.

The rollout will be trialled at one clinic in Manchester and two in London.

This approach to vaccines means that the maximum doses can be given without compromising protections.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at UKHSA, said: “Global supplies of the smallpox vaccine used to combat monkeypox are limited but we acted early to ensure the UK obtained the maximum number of doses available.

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“Adopting this tried and tested technique will help to maximise the reach of our remaining stock, including the 100,000 doses due to arrive in the country next month, potentially enabling us to offer protection for many more thousands of people.

“We will continue to remain agile in our response to the monkeypox outbreak and will adapt our approach as new science and advice becomes available.”





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