This is how you can get a monkeypox vaccine in the UK
More than 2,000 cases have been confirmed in England
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that monkeypox- a disease similar to smallpox- is now a public health emergency of international concern. Previously confined to certain parts of Africa, monkeypox is now spreading at an alarming rate, with gay and bisexual men most at risk from catching the disease. People generally recover at home without medication or having to go to hospital, but in some cases the illness can be fatal. Here’s everything we know about monkeypox as well as some information on how to get a vaccine in the UK.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is an infection that can cause a high temperature, headaches, swollen glands, shivering and exhaustion. After these initial symptoms, a rash usually appears, beginning on the face and spreading to other parts of the body.
Similar to chickenpox, this rash looks like raised blotches that blister and fill with fluid.
These symptoms may last for a couple of weeks and during that time, you could pass monkeypox onto other people.
How do you get monkeypox?
In the UK, you could contract monkeypox by coming into close physical contact with someone with the illness. It can be passed on during sex, kissing, sharing bedding or towels, or if someone who is infected coughs or sneezes in close proximity to you.
A recent paper found that 98 per cent of people known to be infected were gay men, bisexual men or men who have sex with men.
That’s why the government will now be offering the monkeypox vaccine to members of the above groups.
Robbie de Santos, Director of Communications and External Affairs at Stonewall, said: “While we know anyone can catch monkeypox, we welcome the vaccine being offered to those gay and bi men who are eligible and currently at a higher risk of getting the virus.”
Where can I get the monkeypox vaccine from in the UK?
The government is currently expanding its vaccine rollout in London, where the vast majority of the country’s monkeypox cases are thought to be.
NHS director of vaccinations Steve Russell said: “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.”
Elsewhere in the UK, you can find sexual health clinics that are offering the monkeypox vaccine here.
More information on monkeypox can be found here. Stay at home and call 111 if you feel unwell.
Featured image: Unsplash