Monkeypox vaccination group to be extended

Monkeypox vaccination group to be extended
Credit: European Commission

All men who have sex with multiple men will soon be able to receive a preventative vaccination against the monkeypox virus, the Risk Management Group decided on Thursday evening.

Those in the new vaccination group can now be vaccinated at centres in Flanders, Wallonia, or Brussels. Men who frequently change sexual partners are at a heightened risk of catching and spreading the virus and will now be able to receive the vaccination unconditionally.

Since 20 September, 2,316 vaccines against monkeypox have been administered in Belgium, including 316 doses following exposure to the virus and 1,987 preventative vaccines, including to 300 sex workers.

Belgians who are most susceptible to the virus have already been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated; vaccination remains open to the most vulnerable groups.

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Groups that have previously been prioritised for vaccination include women on PREP therapy with frequent alternating sexual contact, male and transgender sex workers, people with severe immune disorders at risk of infection (HIV, AIDS), and laboratory personnel handling virus cultures.

Vaccination has been extended to this new group thanks to the switch to intradermal vaccination and an additional 1,500 doses on loan from the Netherlands. An additional 30,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Belgium by the end of the year.

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