In an effort to put a stop to the largest outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa, health officials in the United Kingdom have decided to begin providing vaccinations to gay and bisexual males who are at the highest risk of contracting the disease.
The Health Security Agency of the United Kingdom issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that doctors may want to explore vaccination for a patient who has more than one sexual partner, engages in group sexual activity, or frequents establishments that allow “sex on premises.”
Dr. Mary Ramsay from the Health Security Agency declared that:
By expanding the vaccine offer to those at higher risk, we hope to break chains of transmission and help contain the outbreak.
Vaccines were previously exclusively accessible to medical professionals who were treating individuals suffering from monkeypox or to cleaners who were sanitizing places that had been contaminated by the virus. Although the vaccine was initially created to treat smallpox, a disease that is closely related to monkeypox, it is believed to be approximately 85 percent effective against monkeypox.
To this day, more than 99 percent of monkeypox cases have been reported in Britain, and the vast majority of those instances have been reported in men who are gay, bisexual, or who have intercourse only with other men. No matter a person’s sexual orientation, the danger of contracting monkeypox is increased if they come into close, physical contact with an infected person or their bedding, clothing, or other personal items. Scientists have issued a warning about this.
There are now 793 instances of monkeypox in the United Kingdom, out of a total of over 2,100 cases reported in 42 countries worldwide. There have been no reported fatalities outside of Africa.
Up until one month ago, monkeypox had only caused significant outbreaks in central and west Africa; however, Africa as a whole has recorded more than 1,500 cases and 72 deaths that are suspected to be related to a distinct epidemic. In Africa, monkeypox prevention through vaccination has never been attempted.