Belgian monkeypox vaccination strategy to change on Monday

Belgian monkeypox vaccination strategy to change on Monday
Credit: Belga

As of 1 August, Belgium is set to change its monkeypox vaccination policy amid rising cases and growing global alarm. Currently, Belgium has ordered 3,000 doses of vaccines against monkeypox and only those who have had contact with someone infected with the virus can be vaccinated.

During an interview with Belgian media RTL Info, Yves Van Laethem, medical specialist at Brussels’ Saint-Pierre hospital, stated that new changes to the government’s vaccination policy are set to come into force at the start of next month.

“From next week, four additional groups will be vaccinated in advance,” the medical expert said. “The two main groups are gay or transgender sex worker, and gay men who have had STDs and who either carry HIV or take medication to prevent acquiring the virus through sex.”

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As of 25 July, there have been 393 detected cases of monkeypox infection in Belgium. Outside of west Africa, the first cases of fatalities from the virus have been recorded in Spain and Brazil, increasing fears that the virus may pose a risk to the immunocompromised. Eight deaths have been recorded worldwide since May. Globally, there are now 3,783 cases across the world.

The World Health Organisation has declared the monkeypox virus as a “public health emergency as international concern”, the highest level of threat, and even has asked that men who have sex with men to reduce their sexual exposure to increase protection within the vulnerable community. 98% of cases have been reported within this group.

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