Gay and bisexual men to be offered monkeypox vaccine in targeted rollout

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Gay and bisexual men who are at a ‘high risk’ of catching monkeypox are set to be offered a vaccine to protect against the infection, health chiefs announced today.

Nearly 800 cases of the virus, which is usually only spotted in Africa, have been reported in the UK. Almost all infections so far have been spotted in men who have sex with men.

In a bid to stem case numbers, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) today confirmed some gay and bisexual men would be offered the Imvanex vaccine — which is 85 per cent effective — to control the outbreak.

Under the plans, which come from the same experts who advised on the Covid vaccine rollout, medics will offer the jab to men who have multiple partners, participates in group sex or attends ‘sex on premises’ venues.

Until now, the jab was only offered to confirmed cases and their close contacts under a strategy called ring vaccination, which has been proven to work in other outbreaks.

Experts told MailOnline a fortnight ago the next sensible step if infections continued to spiral would be to widen the vaccination programme in a targeted rollout to more men who have sex with men, anyone visiting a sexual health clinic and NHS staff.

It comes as Covid-weary Britons were today warned that the monkeypox outbreak could get 10 times bigger by experts behind gloomy models used to justify lockdown restrictions. The modelling suggested, however, that any surge in cases among groups other than gay and bisexual men was ‘unlikely’.

Meanwhile, British health bosses reported another 219 infections today — the highest daily toll — bringing the UK total to 793. London is the country’s virus hotspot.

Dozens of countries, including the US, Spain and Germany, have been struck by the outbreak — the biggest ever detected outside of Africa to date. Almost all of infections so far have been spotted in the men who have sex with other men community.

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