NHS ramps up monkeypox vaccine rollout in London

·2-min read
There are 2,000 cases in the UK  (PA Wire)
There are 2,000 cases in the UK (PA Wire)

The NHS in London will accelerate the rollout of the monkeypox vaccine after more than 2,000 cases of the virus were reported across the country.

A total of 2,137 cases have been confirmed in the UK as of July 18, with 1,492 of those located in London - a rise of 179 from the previous week.

In the capital, there are now 18 clinics offering vaccinations, including Dean Street sexual health clinic in Soho, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Guy’s Hospital in Southwark, Mortimer Market Centre in Camden and Barking Hospital Outpatient Centre East.

Commenting on the vaccine rollout, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s encouraging that the monkeypox vaccine is being rapidly expanded across our capital.

“With London seeing the highest rate of infection in the country, it is important that NHS London is able to prioritise the vaccination of those most at risk.

“I urge everyone who is offered the vaccine to book their appointment as soon as they are contacted.”

Earlier this week, the UK Health Security Agency procured a further 100,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine, in order to tackle the virus. The first 20,000 doses will be delivered by the NHS next month.

Steve Russell, NHS Director of Vaccinations, added: “While the risk of monkeypox remains very low and nearly every case we have seen so far has recovered quickly, over 2,000 people have been affected by the virus.

“On the whole, the cases we are seeing are among gay and bisexual men or men who have sex with men, with a significant number coming from London and so it is vital that those who are most likely to get the virus get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“The NHS is now scaling up its plans to get people vaccinated, particularly in London, thanks to the efforts of staff who are working hard to help stop onward spread, in line with UKHSA advice.

Monkeypox can spread from person to person through touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs, or through the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash, including during sex.

Common signs of the monkeypox infection include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes, and the development of a new rash.

Mr Russell said thousands more people will be invited for a vaccine “very shortly”.

“We will be inviting anyone who we believe is a priority for vaccination and local teams will be working to make sure that anyone who meets the criteria set by UKHSA knows how they can get their jab.

“We are asking people to wait to be contacted and to come forward at the earliest opportunity possible when invited to get vaccinated.”

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