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NHS Launches New Online Site Finder for Monkeypox Vaccines

posted by: Don Leslie

The NHS has today launched a new online vaccine site finder to make it as

easy as possible for eligible people to get their monkeypox jab.

There are already almost 100 sites on the monkeypox vaccine site finder across

England and those eligible can find their

nearest one at www.nhs.uk/find-a-monkeypox-vaccination

Almost 50,000 people have so far been vaccinated for monkeypox since the

NHS rolled out the programme at speed once the first cases were identified.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the UK Consensus Group

estimate around 95,000 people in England are eligible but only half of these are in

contact with sexual health services.

The online service means that anyone who is eligible can go online and

find their nearest site and find information on how they can get an appointment.

In line with UKHSA guidance those at greatest risk of exposure are eligible.

This includes high risk gay, bisexual and/or men who have sex with men (GBMSM),

along with specific frontline staff and those who have been in close contact

with a confirmed case.

There are already almost 100 sites on the monkeypox vaccine site finder across

England and those eligible can find their

nearest one at www.nhs.uk/find-a-monkeypox-vaccination  –

the site finder allows people to receive their vaccination confidentially if they choose to.

Until now, the NHS and sexual health services have been contacting men who are

likely to be at higher risk of infection to get protected, because for example, they had

an appointment, including for PrEP.

Now anyone eligible is being asked to come forward for a first dose as more supply

becomes available and receive the vaccine.

Steve Russell, NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening, said:

“The NHS is redoubling its efforts to get people who are most likely to get

monkeypox vaccinated and with half of those eligible in contact with sexual health

services and continuing to be invited, now is the time to come forward for a first dose

via the finder if you haven’t already.

“While we know the risk of monkeypox remains low, it is important that

if you are eligible, you protect yourself and those around you wherever possible,

and this new NHS site finder makes it easier than ever to join the nearly 50,000

who are protected from monkeypox.”

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security

Agency, said:

“It’s encouraging that we are continuing to see significantly fewer cases of

Monkeypox reported in the UK. However, it remains vital that people are alert to the risk Monkeypox poses and take action to protect themselves and others.

“This vital new service will help make it easier for those at highest

risk to get vaccination appointments.”

Health Minister Dr Caroline Johnson said: “The UK was the first

country to detect the international outbreak of monkeypox and moved

quickly to order 150,000 vaccine doses to protect the public.

“It’s great tens of thousands of those most at risk have already come forward

for their jabs. We’re now making it easier for eligible people to find their nearest

vaccination centres by launching a Covid-style site finder online.

Please come forward to protect yourself and others as soon as you can.”

Each vaccination site will have its own instructions on how to get the vaccine

appointment and people will find details online. People will be screened on the

eligibility criteria before they receive the vaccine so it is important that people

understand the guidance set out by UKHSA.

The NHS is prioritising first doses for individuals who are most likely to get the

virus in line with advice. The NHS or sexual health service will contact you when

it is your turn to get your second dose.

Up to 17 October 2022 there were 3,537 confirmed and 149 highly probable

monkeypox cases detected in the UK: 3,686 in total.

Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of monkeypox should limit interactions

with others and contact their local sexual health clinic or phone 111.

You should not visit A&E or your GP.

Common signs of monkeypox infection include fever, headache, muscle aches,

exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes, and the development of a new rash.

The majority of monkeypox cases in the UK continue to be in gay, bisexual and

other men who have sex with men, with the infection being passed on mainly

through close intimate contact in interconnected sexual networks but monkeypox

can also be spread from person to person through touching clothing, bedding or

towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash or by touching monkeypox

skin blisters or scabs.

Alex Sparrowhawk, Health Promotion Specialist at Terrence Higgins

Trust, said: “Vaccination is crucial for protecting people against monkeypox and

it’s vital information about how and where to get vaccinated is clear and accessible.

This new monkeypox vaccination finder for England is a positive step forward and

we’re encouraging all those at risk of monkeypox to come forward and get their

first dose.”

Dr Will Nutland, co-founder of PrEPster, said: “Today’s launch of the

monkeypox clinic finder is a hugely welcome step-forward in assisting eligible

people to access vaccination. Over the summer, many tens of thousands of us

have been able to access the monkeypox vaccine, and we still have a collective

task throughout the autumn, and beyond, to increase monkeypox vaccination

to those who most need it.”

For further information please contact the NHS England media team on

nhsengland.media@nhs.net or 01138 250958

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