More than 40,000 more vials of monkeypox vaccine have arrived in Australia, as LGBTIQ+ health advocates urge those at high risk to get vaccinated in the lead-up to summer.
Since May, Australia has reported more than 140 cases of monkeypox, including 69 in Victoria, 55 in New South Wales, seven in Western Australia and five in Queensland.
“The second shipment of almost 40,000 vials of the MPX vaccine JYNNEOS has arrived in Australia and will be made available through states and territories,” a Health department spokesperson said.
“More doses are scheduled to arrive this year and throughout 2023.
“Through peak organisations Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), state-based LGBTQ+ health organisation ACON in NSW and Thorne Harbour Health in Victoria, new case numbers have been suppressed in Australia, with only one case diagnosed during October.
“However, vaccination remains important, particularly as we head into summer and [Sydney WorldPride] events, which will see many international visitors to Australia.”
While monkeypox can affect anyone, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are disproportionally impacted.
AFAO CEO Darryl O’Donnell encouraged all those eligible to take up the free vaccines.
“So far, we have not seen a rapid spread of the virus in Australia,” AFAO chief executive Darryl O’Donnell said.
“However, with the warmer months and forthcoming pride events, case numbers may very well increase.
“So it’s important that we continue to raise awareness of MPX along with strategies to prevent infection, including getting the vaccine.”
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill also warned against complacency ahead of this summer.
“If you develop any symptoms, particularly an unusual rash, lesions or sores, seek medical attention by calling ahead to your GP or local sexual health clinic,” he said.
450,000 vials of Jynneos monkeypox vaccine
Health Minister Mark Butler said Australia has ordered 450,000 vials of the Jynneos vaccine in total.
Of these, 100,000 are due to be delivered by the end of this year and the remaining 350,000 will be rolled out next year.
The first batch of vaccines arrived in August. Nearly 25,000 people at the highest risk of the virus have received their first dose, the federal government said.
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