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Britain to give monkeypox vaccine to some gay and bisexual men

British health officials will start giving vaccines to some men who are gay or bisexual or have sex with men who are most at risk of catching monkeypoxIn an effort to prevent the largest outbreak of the disease beyond Africa.

Britain’s Health Protection Agency said in a statement on Tuesday that doctors may consider vaccination for certain men who are gay or bisexual and men who have sex with men at highest risk of exposure, whom they have ” Multiple partners, defined as people having (who participate) in group sex or (attend) ‘sex on campus’ places.”

“By expanding the vaccine offering to people at high risk, we hope to break the chain of transmission and help prevent outbreaks,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, the Health Protection Agency’s head of vaccination.

Last month, a leading World Health Organization advisory said outbreaks of monkeypox beyond Africa were likely spread by sexual activity by men in Spain and Belgium.

Vaccines were previously only available to healthcare workers caring for monkeypox patients or to cleaners disinfecting areas contaminated with the virus. The vaccine was originally developed for smallpox, a related disease, but is thought to be about 85% effective against monkeypox.

To date, more than 99% of monkeypox cases in the UK are in men, and the majority of them are in men who are gay, bisexual or who have sex with men. Scientists warn that anyone who is in close physical contact with someone infected with monkeypox or their clothing or bedsheets, regardless of their sexual orientation, is at risk of disease.

There are currently 793 cases of monkeypox in the UK, out of more than 2,100 cases in 42 countries globally. No deaths have been reported beyond Africa.

Until last month, monkeypox only caused widespread outbreaks in Central and West Africa; The continent has so far reported more than 1,500 cases and 72 suspected deaths in a separate pandemic. Vaccines have never been used to control monkeypox in Africa.

Last week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the continued spread of monkeypox in countries that had not previously viewed the disease as “unusual and concerning”.

Tedros is convening an expert meeting on Thursday to decide whether to expand monkeypox outbreak The warrants are being declared a global emergency. This would give it the same designation as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.

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