Is The Monkeypox Vaccine Available In Australia? Where Can I Get It?
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The World Health Organization has recently declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern—the highest alert level.
The viral infection spreads by direct contact with the infectious rash, scab, or bodily fluids during prolonged intimate physical contact with someone with monkeypox.
The clinical symptoms resemble those of sexually transmitted infections—particularly rashes and lesions filled with pus—which can easily lead to misdiagnosis.
Since May, there has been a staggering global increase in Monkeypox cases.
Two smallpox vaccines can be used to treat monkeypox, but only one of them—ACAM2000—is available in Australia, and it can be risky for immunocompromised patients.
“Because of this, these vaccines are not recommended for mass vaccination,” the health organisation ACON said.
This vaccine is used only for the most vulnerable groups, like close contacts of cases and health workers treating them.
Amid fears of rising cases in Australia, health advocates are urging the government to secure supplies for the other vaccine, known as Jynneos, Imvanex or Imvamune.
“ACON and our partners are working with health authorities to facilitate vaccine access in Australia as quickly as possible, particularly for higher risk groups in our communities,” the statement added.
“Your doctor or sexual health clinic is the best place to advise you on how to best manage your condition.”
Luckily, health officials have affirmed that not everybody needs a vaccination against the virus, as it does not spread as easily as Covid-19 and most people recover in a matter of weeks.
Australia's chief medical officer has also declared monkeypox (MPX) is now a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance.
Professor Paul Kelly said designating it an incident of national significance follows The World Health Organization's lead.
"The decision to declare MPX a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance was made under the Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance, in consultation with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee," he said.
"Since May, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care public health experts have engaged with at-risk communities in partnership with key stakeholders and have been working very closely with their counterparts in state and territory health departments to ensure our response to MPX has been swift and coordinated.
"The National Incident Centre has been activated to provide enhanced national coordination to assist states and territories to effectively manage the outbreaks within their jurisdictions."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy