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Pharmacies to continue providing monkeypox vaccine in London


Pharmacies to continue providing monkeypox vaccine in London

Pharmacies and other providers in London will continue administering monkeypox vaccines after the government extended the service beyond the end of next month.

The decision to keep the service going in the capital beyond the end of July, announced by the UK Health Security Agency, was taken because of the high risk of monkeypox there. The service will be available nationally for the next six weeks.

The UKHSA said 11 new cases have been discovered in the past few weeks, with most diagnoses made in unvaccinated individuals and three in people who had only received one dose.

The UKHSA also said the “highest risk” of the virus was “primarily in interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men” and that was where “the majority of cases have been detected so far this year.”

The discovery of more cases of monkeypox in London prompted the UKHSA to insist it is “keeping a close eye on any new cases and is working with NHS England and partners to assess feasibility of further options for vaccine availability around the country.”

Individuals who are eligible for the vaccine include gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men who have multiple sexual partners, participate in group sex or attend sex on premises venues. Staff who work in these premises are also eligible.

The NHS runs a vaccine site-finding resource which lists all the places where vaccinations are being carried out. Those include pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and other venues. Those at highest risk from monkeypox are eligible for two doses of the vaccine.

The UKHSA, whose data has shown that one dose offers 78 per cent protection against the virus 14 days after receiving it, said the number of diagnoses across the UK “remain low” with 21 cases reported since the start of the year.

“Thanks to the swift action taken to roll out mpox vaccines to the most vulnerable, overall cases across the country have been very low in recent months,” said health minister Maria Caulfield.

“However, we must remain vigilant, and in light of the recent cases in London, it is right to extend the mpox vaccination programme in the capital for first and second doses.”

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