According to the HSE, 6,000 are at risk from the monkeypox virus, but only 600 will be vaccinated in the first introductory phase


Around 6,000 people in Ireland could be at “increased risk” of monkeypox infection, but limited stocks of vaccine mean phase one rollout to reduce the risk of infection will be limited to just 600, the HSE said today.

t will have to do vaccination gradually, starting with people who contracted syphilis between December and July.

It said some people at high risk of contracting monkeypox will be offered a vaccine against the disease “in the next few weeks.”

The HSE said given the current limited vaccine supply and after detailed clinical discussions, it will extend the vaccine to gay and bisexual men, men who have sex with men and transgender people who had early-onset syphilis between December 2021 and July 2022. prioritize.

It is estimated that about 6,000 people could be at increased risk of monkeypox infection, but current vaccine stocks allow only 10 percent of them to be vaccinated in the first phase of vaccine rollout.

The National Immunization Advisory Committee (NIAC) advised vaccinating at-risk individuals before exposure to the virus, but supplies of the smallpox vaccine have been limited, delaying rollout. More than 100 cases of monkeypox have been diagnosed here this year.

The HSE said today it has sought the advice and guidance of clinical and ethical experts to develop a plan for the initial offering of the currently limited supply of vaccines. It has also been working closely with advocacy groups and support groups in recent weeks to seek their input on the plan.

“The HSE estimates that around 6,000 people may be at increased risk of monkeypox infection,” it said.

“Current stocks of vaccine will allow approximately 10 percent of these individuals to be vaccinated in the first phase of vaccine rollout. The HSE has developed a process for prioritizing people for vaccination.

“Currently vaccine stocks in Ireland and the EU are low and limited. Ireland, along with other EU countries, is actively exploring ways to increase our supply of vaccines in the medium to long term. Based on current indications regarding the global vaccine supply, the second phase of the rollout of the vaccine in Ireland is likely to begin later this year and into next year.

“To date, following a public health assessment, the HSE has offered a vaccine to those who have close contacts with cases of monkeypox and those individuals have been contacted and invited to be vaccinated.

“Given the current limited vaccine supply and following extensive clinical discussions, the HSE will prioritize the vaccine for gbMSM and transgender individuals who have received a report to the HSE Infectious Disease Surveillance System of early infectious syphilis (EIS) between December 2021 and July 2022 is .

“As part of the HSE prioritization process, a detailed and pragmatic analysis was conducted which identified this group as those at highest risk, apart from close contacts of a confirmed case. We reviewed UK data on monkeypox cases and also included evidence from programs recently set up in other countries.

“This group is prioritized because the mode of spread of syphilis is similar to that of monkeypox and syphilis also disproportionately affects gbMSM compared to other STIs. Additionally, most of these patients are diagnosed at sexual health clinics, which means individuals can be identified and invited for vaccination more quickly. Individuals in this group are therefore prioritized in the first phase of the monkeypox vaccination process.

“The HSE is working closely with infectious disease and genitourinary medicine consultants and the clinical teams at STI clinics across the country to quickly put in place a process to identify and prompt these individuals to be vaccinated. In this first phase of the pre-exposure vaccination program, STI teams will offer approximately 600 people two doses of the vaccine – 28 days apart, per Niac guidelines. The services will be contacting these individuals directly in the coming days and it is expected that those identified will receive the vaccine in the coming weeks. The confidentiality of these persons is maintained.

“Separately, the HSE will ensure it maintains a stock of vaccines available for those intermediate and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case.”

It said that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and can affect anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. However, by far the greatest risk of human-to-human spread is through close physical contact, including sexual contact and close contact with household members.

Vaccination does not guarantee that a person will not become infected, and vaccinated individuals should continue to watch for signs of monkeypox infection.

“Current reported cases of monkeypox in Ireland involve people self-identifying as gbMSM. Because the virus spreads through close contact, the HSE advises those who self-identify as gbMSM to be alert for any unusual rashes or blister-like lesions on any part of their body (or that of their partner), particularly their genitals. If they notice any such changes, they should consult their local STI clinic or general practitioner (GP) for advice. Currently, the number of new cases of monkeypox in Ireland is stable week over week.”

In response, HIV Ireland said it welcomed the HSE’s release of a phase one introduction of a monkeypox vaccine to some people identified as most in need. However, it urged the government to take urgent action to procure additional vaccine stocks as current supplies fall far short of needs.

Welcoming today’s announcement, HIV Ireland Executive Director Stephen O’Hare said: “A key component to controlling and hopefully eradicating this virus is a coordinated vaccine rollout program for those most at risk of infection.”

“As the crisis deepens, it will be imperative to procure additional vaccines as soon as possible and to allocate more resources within sexual health services to identify and contact those most at risk to provide them with a vaccine as soon as possible Opportunity to offer vaccine,” he added. According to the HSE, 6,000 are at risk from the monkeypox virus, but only 600 will be vaccinated in the first introductory phase

Fry Electronics Team

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