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Monkeypox: Your Questions & Answered - Vaccines, Transmit & Treatment

Interview speaker: Professor kevin fenton

Now with more than 2000 cases of monkey pox reported in england most of them here in london a group of mps is calling on the government to speed up its monkey pox vaccination program the government says "it's bought a hundred thousand additional doses and that the nhs is contacting those eligible for them well to discuss that".

Answer some of your Questions:

we understand the government says that the nhs is contacting those eligible for the vaccine, can you tell us who is eligible and who is most at risk so at the moment?

we know that most of the cases are being seen in men and of that the vast majority are gay bisexual and other men who sex with men but we also know that within that group there are particularly risk factors such as having multiple sexual partners in the past three months having been recently diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection or participating in sex in high-risk venues for example saunas.

so these are some of the risk factors that we're looking at and clinics are contacting gay men who fulfill these criteria and inviting them in to get their vaccine and we have seen the the cues you know outside one london hospital at the weekend

Many people are telling us look you know we do want to have the monkey pox vaccine but but they're struggling with a lack of information?

if they want to have the monkey pox vaccine

what should they do well the first thing is that the NHS now has more vaccines and they're going through the process of contacting the patients who are at high risk and who are eligible for the vaccine so if you have been contacted to get your vaccine simply call the clinic make an appointment and arrange to have your vaccine if you haven't been contacted by a clinic at this stage don't worry you will be able to get the vaccine in due course it's just that we need to prioritize the vaccine for gay men who are at the highest risk at this time

Is there a shortage of vaccines because obviously london is a priority given that most of the cases are here?

Well you know the vast majority of the vaccine which is available is in fact being distributed to clinics in london because we remain the epicenter of the outbreak of monkey parks in the uk but globally there is a shortage of the vaccine and it's just fantastic that we've been able to secure an additional hundred thousand doses of the vaccine which will be available throughout august and going into

september that's way more than many other countries have been able to procure.

so we are ahead of the game but the real focus now is ensuring that we get the vaccine into the arms of those who are at highest risk to help to contain the spread of infection

how transmittable it is compared to for example covid because i know it's transmitted through touch and skin and i just wanted to know like is it?

As easy to get as as covid is it definitely isn't as easy to get as as covid is coveted as you know is transmitted through aerosol transmission which is a much higher likelihood of it being transmitted through respiratory me through respiratory means whereas for the monkey box you really do require close physical contact uh such as touching infected lesions on another person being in contact with contaminated bed linen towels and clothing for the virus to transmit so the vast majority of infections are being transmitted through this close physical contact band.

How effective is the vaccine in preventing transmission in percentage terms or do you need more than one dose because you've already talked about you know a shortage of supply?

Yes the vaccine that we're using is in fact a small box vaccine and we know that the smallpox vaccine is also effective against the monkeybox virus and it does confer protection protection the regime is a two-dose regime and so we are prioritizing getting everybody their first dose because we know that that provides significant protection against multiplex infection and then in time as stocks of vaccine become available will progress to delivering a second dose of vaccine but at the moment the priority is getting as many of the first doses in as many arms as possible.

smallpox vaccine does that mean that there will be some people in the population who may have way in the past when smallpox vaccines were being given out be already protected that may well be the case?

Generally in the uk population that would refer to people over 45 over 50 but that can't be relied upon because even at that age group and above not everyone would have received vaccine at that time so what we're saying is if you are at high risk and you are contacted by your gum clinic your sexual health service to get your vaccine please take it up because we know that is going to be one of the effective tools we have to help to control spread okay so the overriding message is wait to be contacted but there may well be people saying actually i'd quite like to have the vaccine and that's not an offer for them unless they go to walk in is that right unless they go to walk in and which point they will be assessed based on their risk as to whether they're eligible or not to get the vaccine.

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