Vaccination to help protect against monkeypox

Monday, 12 September 2022

Manx Care has started offering vaccines to people at high risk of coming into contact with monkeypox. The vaccination programme began on 05 September. Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that usually causes a high temperature (fever) and a body rash that lasts a few weeks. The risk of getting monkeypox in the Isle of Man is currently very low.

The vaccine will help reduce transmission of the virus.

The Monkeypox vaccination will not be available to every member of the Island’s population, with eligibility criteria being used to determine who may be offered a dose. Frequently Asked Questions are outlined below to improve understanding of the vaccination and the eligibility criteria.

Monkeypox Vaccine FAQs

What vaccine will I be offered if I am eligible?

Monkeypox is caused by a virus similar to the one that causes smallpox. Vaccines designed for smallpox are considered effective against monkeypox. The Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccine is a much safer form of the smallpox vaccine. The MVA vaccine brand that has been provided to the Isle of Man by the UK Health Security Agency is known as Imvanex.

The Isle of Man has been provided with very limited stocks of Imvanex. We are following guidance issued by the UK, and administering the vaccine by a method known as intradermal injection, which is injecting the vaccine into the upper layer of the skin. This method uses a much lower dose of the vaccine but is no less effective than the normal method of vaccinating under the skin or into the muscle. This means that we can protect more people through vaccination using our limited stock.

Who is offered the vaccine?

People at higher risk of coming into contact with monkeypox will be offered the vaccine to help reduce transmission. As the Isle of Man currently has a limited supply of the vaccine, it's being offered to those at highest risk first. As more supplies become available, more people will be offered a first dose.

How can I see if I’m eligible for a vaccine?

If you feel you are in an at-risk group and therefore should receive the monkeypox vaccine, please contact the Sexual Health Service at Noble’s Hospital on +44 1624 650710 during office hours. Your details will be taken and you will be called back by a Sexual Health Nurse or Doctor who will undertake an assessment to establish eligibility. In keeping with sexual health practice full confidentiality will be maintained. If you are eligible and we have stocks of Imvanex available, you will be offered an appointment to attend for your vaccination. If you are eligible and we do not have stocks available, you will be contacted when we receive further stocks from the UK. Wherever possible we will offer a single dose of vaccine as soon as possible. A second dose may be offered at least 28 days after the first dose for those at risk of ongoing monkeypox exposure.

The MVA vaccine is also recommended for anyone who has already been in close contact with a confirmed case of monkeypox. Ideally, this needs to be administered within four days of the initial exposure, but in some scenarios could be given up to 14 days afterwards. Please contact the clinic on +44 1624 650710 if you believe this this applies to you.

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