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3rd August 2022, 16:02

​GHA launches pre-exposure vaccine programme for those at risk of catching Monkeypox

The Health Authority is launching a pre-exposure vaccine programme for those at risk of catching Monkeypox.

This will be offered via the Well Person clinic at the Primary Care Centre, with the GHA adding patient confidentiality will be preserved at all times.

Although there is no specific Monkeypox vaccine, the smallpox vaccine is estimated to be around 85 percent effective at preventing infection.

Until now, the GHA has been able to offer this only to those who were already close contacts of a confirmed case, as a post-exposure treatment.

However, it's now been able to secure further supplies of the vaccine.

To register interest, you can call 222 58707 and select option 1, or email smallpoxvaccine@gha.gi, providing your name, date of birth, GHA number and a phone number.

The vaccine will be offered to those at higher risk of coming into contact with monkeypox, including healthcare workers and men who have sex with men.

However, although most cases in the current global outbreak are being diagnosed among men who have sex with men, heterosexual people and children have also become infected through close contact.

Monkeypox is not a sexually-transmitted infection; it is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact.

If you develop a rash with skin blisters, fever, headache, weakness and back pains, you should call 111 immediately to be assessed and tested - and should do this instead of going to A&E or the PCC.

The Director of Public Health aid fortunately the six cases diagnosed so far in Gibraltar have all made a good recovery, but added the disease is highly unpleasant and painful. Dr Helen Carter strongly encouraged those at higher risk to arrange vaccination.

Director General of the GHA, Professor Patrick Geoghegan, also thanked the community messaging and engagement by the LGBTQ+ Committee and the Equality Rights Group to promote monkeypox awareness, safety messaging, and the vaccine programme.

Key Facts from the World Health Organisation