The NHS will now offer a second monkeypox vaccination to everyone who is eligible in an effort to provide long-term protection against the virus.
Around 68,000 people have already been vaccinated against monkeypox since the first cases of the viral disease were identified in England in May 2022.
The second monkeypox vaccination will offer long-lasting protection and can be administered from around two-to-three months after the first vaccine dose. Eligible people will be invited by their sexual health clinic when they are due for their second dose.
Monkeypox vaccination has been effective so far
“We continue to see fewer reported cases of monkeypox in the UK and we know vaccination is playing a crucial role in this. Earlier this week, we published new evidence that shows a single vaccine dose provides strong protection against monkeypox, and a second dose is expected to offer even greater and longer-lasting protection,” said Dr Merav Kliner, Incident Director at UKHSA.
According to new vaccine effectiveness research by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA), the monkeypox vaccination provides offers 78% protection against the virus from just one dose. The vaccine is fully effective after 14 days.
People who are at the greatest risk of exposure to the virus, in line with UKHSA guidance, will be the first to be eligible for the second monkeypox vaccination. This includes eligible gay, bisexual and/or men who have sex with men (GBMSM). Specific frontline staff and those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case will also be among those first in line.
As of 21 November, a total of 3,543 cases of the virus have been confirmed in England.
NHS vaccine site finder
Those eligible for their first vaccine can still use NHS England’s monkeypox vaccine site finder to find their nearest vaccination clinic. This includes over 60 sites across England. The site finder allows eligible people to receive their vaccination confidentially if they choose to.
“The second monkeypox vaccine will offer essential, long-lasting protection, so I urge everyone eligible to come forward when invited, as a few minutes of your time in exchange for long-lasting protection is a good deal,” said Steve Russell, NHS National Director of Vaccinations and Screening.
“Thanks to the efforts of staff, we have already vaccinated almost 68,000 people who are eligible, and for those who are yet to get their first vaccine, our monkeypox site finder makes it easier than ever to find your nearest site, so please don’t hesitate to get that first important dose,” he added.
“It is vital people remain alert to the risk monkeypox poses and take action to protect themselves and others. When you’re invited for your second dose, please take up the offer – it takes two weeks for the vaccine to have maximum effect so the sooner you get vaccinated, the better,” concluded Dr Kliner.