NHS Sussex launches monkeypox vaccination campaign

The NHS is urging people invited for a monkeypox vaccination to get bitten and protect themselves and the wider community.

Although the number of people catching the virus remains low, the vaccine is being offered to the most vulnerable groups in a bid to stem the spread of the infection.

Vaccination by the University Hospital Sussex NHS Trust is by invitation only through sexual health clinics in Brighton and West Sussex.

Because monkeypox is caused by a virus similar to smallpox, smallpox vaccines are designed to prevent or reduce the severity of infection and are offered to high-risk groups.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is currently recommending that vaccination be offered to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men at highest risk of exposure, people who have already had close contact with a monkeypox patient and medical staff who are concerned taking care of him and starting because of caring for a patient with the virus.

Currently in Sussex only a specific group, already known to sexual health services and considered to be at high risk of contracting monkeypox, is specifically invited.

The Argus: Vaccination against monkeypox is currently by invitation only for the highest risk groupsVaccination against monkeypox is currently only possible for the highest risk groups by invitation

dr University Hospital Sussex NHS Trust Sexual Health Adviser Emma Rutland said: “The monkeypox vaccine will be offered to those most at risk.

“Please wait for the invitation – anyone who thinks they may be eligible for the vaccination should wait to be contacted.

“Once another vaccine supply becomes available, individuals outside of these original groups will be considered.”

The UKHSA has sourced more than 100,000 extra doses of smallpox vaccine, allowing more people to be vaccinated to prevent infection and limit transmission.

Additional doses are expected to arrive this month, with more expected in September.

The UK has previously sourced almost 30,000 doses so the NHS can start rolling out the vaccination program for people most likely to contract monkeypox.

As of August 1, there have been 2,759 confirmed and most probable cases of monkeypox across the UK, with 233 in south-east England. NHS Sussex launches monkeypox vaccination campaign

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