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Monkeypox vaccine shortage slows rollout in Wales

03 Aug 2022 2 minute read

Changes to how the Monkeypox vaccine will be rolled out across Wales have been confirmed by Health Minister Eluned Morgan.

It was announced in June that NHS Wales would roll out vaccination programme to combat the outbreak of monkeypox as soon as possible.

Since then, some of those eligible for the vaccine in Wales have been offered the jab.

However, due to limited supplies of the smallpox vaccine Imvanex, which is being used to control the spread of the virus, the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers have agreed to adopt a short term, UK wide outbreak management approach to deploying the vaccine.

This means vaccine deployment will be prioritised where there are localised outbreaks.

The programme is being expanded first in London, where the majority of cases are located.

NHS teams in the London area will receive additional doses from the existing supply in an effort to break the chains of transmission as quickly as possible.

At risk

As a result, only those most at risk in areas with localised outbreaks in Wales are being prioritised for vaccination.

People who fall within this category will be contacted directly by their health board.

Last week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced it had procured more than 100,000 additional vaccine doses with the first 20,000 set to be delivered for use by the NHS in August.

The Health Minister said: “We are working closely with the UKHSA to ensure Wales’ share of the vaccine is available for deployment as soon as possible.

“Those next in line will be offered the vaccine as soon as it becomes available, and we urge all those who are eligible for the vaccine to take it up when invited by health boards to a vaccination appointment. It will help protect yourself and others you have had close contact with.”

“We are seeing the majority of monkeypox cases in the current outbreak experienced by gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

“We want to reassure this community that their interests are our priority. “

There are currently 2,672 confirmed and 87 highly probable monkeypox cases in the UK: 2,759 in total.

Of these, 2,638 are in England, with just 30 cases confirmed in Wales since the start of the outbreak.

There are also 59 confirmed cases in Scotland and 18 in Northern Ireland.

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