The monkeypox vaccination programme, which has been running across the region since last summer after an outbreak of the virus in the UK – has proven to be a success in halting the spread of monkeypox thanks to more than 3,000 people in GM being vaccinated. But following an increase of cases in London, the NHS is encouraging anyone at risk who hasn’t started or completed their two-dose vaccination to do so before the programme ends to provide maximum protection.
Appointments for one dose of the vaccine will end on 16 June (leaving time to get the second dose), while those waiting for a second dose will have until 23 July to book an appointment. Vaccinations are available through selected sexual health services that can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mpox/find-a-mpox-vaccination-site/.
The vaccine is available to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men at highest risk of getting monkeypox (for example if people have multiple partners, participate in group sex or attend ‘sex on premises’ venues, people with a recent bacterial sexually transmitted infection and those eligible for PREP, the preventative drug for HIV transmission), people who have had recent close contact with someone infected with monkeypox, and healthcare workers caring for and due to start caring for a patient with the virus.
Jane Pilkington, Director of Population Health for NHS Greater Manchester said:
“While we are really pleased with the success of this vaccination programme, with a decrease in cases of monkeypox seen across the UK as a whole – the recent report of an increase in cases in London serves as a reminder that we still need to be careful. People need to not only continue following advice given about how to recognise potential symptoms and what actions will keep themselves safe, but also anyone at the highest risk who hasn’t already should take up the vaccine offer while it is still available.
“It is important that, when able to, individuals receive their second dose of the vaccine, at least 28 days after receiving their first. This helps maximise their protection against the virus, protecting them and those around them.
“Please remember, that as with any vaccine, it won’t give 100% protection, and won’t be effective straight away, so stay alert for symptoms and call NHS 111 or a local sexual health clinic if you have signs of monkeypox, even if it’s just one spot.”
Monkeypox can be passed on from person to person through:
- Any close physical contact with monkeypox blisters or scabs (including during sexual contact, kissing, cuddling, or holding hands).
- Touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with monkeypox.
- The coughs or sneezes of a person with monkeypox when they’re close to you.
More information about monkeypox can be found at: