Monkeypox Vaccination For Vulnerable People Available From Next Week

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The Federal Government has secured additional supplies of vaccinations to protect those most vulnerable to monkeypox.

Health Minster Mark Butler confirmed additional doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine have been secured – a third generation vaccine which can be used on those most vulnerable.

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"We've secured supplies of new third generation vaccines," he said.

Australia currently has a stockpile of the ACAM2000 vaccine, a second-generation vaccination which can be used before or after exposure the monkeypox.

However, being a second-generation, it cannot be used in severe immunocompromised people, pregnant women, or those with active eczema.

Unlike other vaccinations, people who receive the vax are required to keep the injection site covered until the scab falls off.

It could also could rare but serious side effects, and administrators of the vaccine need specialised training provide it. 

Due to the limitations, the JYNNEOS is the preferred vaccine as it has fewer adverse side effects and is easier to administer.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has listed five key groups who are eligible for a vaccination including:

  • Anyone considered high risk of being in contact with monkeypox in the past 14 days, such as healthcare workers, laboratory staff who work with the smallpox or monkeypox virus.
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who have a high number of sexual contacts or live with HIV.
  • Sex workers, particularly those whose clients are in high-risk categories.
  • Anyone in the above categories who is planning travel to a country where there is a significant outbreak.
  • Immunisation providers who are administering the ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine.

Australia has recorded over 40 cases of monkeypox nation-wide, and on Wednesday, Butler said the government and health department was closely monitoring the situation.

"We've been working very hard with peak providers in this area, particularly groups like FAO, the Federation of AIDS Organisations," he said.

"The clinicians in this area and many others who have a particular interest in the monkeypox outbreak across the world.

"Chief Health Officers have been in regular discussion about our response."

Monkeypox is a viral infection that causes a rash over the body and is transmitted after close contact with lesions or body fluid of an infected person.

People who contract monkeypox are required to isolate until the rash fully clears which can take up to three weeks.

Other symptoms reported include fever, headache, muscle aches and joint pain.

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3 August 2022

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