Monkeypox: Britain buys another 100,000 doses of vaccine

·2-min read

Britain has bought another 100,000 doses of vaccine to stop monkeypox as the number of cases across the country has risen to more than 2,130.

The country’s Health Security Agency said while the epidemic is expanding the majority of cases are in London and continue to be found in “gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men”.

Scientists previously said there was no evidence of monkeypox spreading beyond those limited networks but it can infect anyone who has close, physical contact with an infected individual or the person’s clothing or bedsheets, regardless of sexual orientation.

It comes a month after the country’s vaccination strategy was expanded with jabs offered not just to health workers treating monkeypox patients and high-risk contacts of patients but to some men who are at high risk of catching the virus.

“Monkeypox is still a serious public health challenge, and we urge contacts to take a break from any activities or events involving skin to skin contact, including sex, hugging and kissing, to reduce the risk of the virus being passed on unknowingly,” said Dr Merav Kliner of the Health Security Agency.

The agency said it expected the first additional doses of vaccine to arrive this month, with the rest being delivered in September.

The vaccine, made by Bavarian Nordic, was developed for smallpox, a related disease, and is thought to be about 85% effective against monkeypox.

Earlier this month, British scientists estimated the monkeypox outbreak was doubling about every two weeks, although many cases are likely being missed due to insufficient testing.

The disease has been endemic in parts of Central and West Africa for decades but had not been known to cause large outbreaks elsewhere until May.

Since then, infections have been reported in nearly 70 countries, mostly in people without travel links to Africa.

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