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Gay and bisexual men at higher risk of catching monkeypox to be offered vaccine

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Gay and bisexual men in Scotland who are considered at higher risk of catching monkeypox are set to be offered a vaccine. The UK Health Security Agency said that those identified by medical professionals should be offered the smallpox vaccine Imvanex in a bid to halt the outbreak.

The Scottish Government have confirmed they will be following the guidance and will be establishing a “pre-exposure vaccination programme for priority risk groups”.

A total of 793 cases have been confirmed in the UK - with just 18 north of the Border.The UKHSA said that the jab had been shown to be effective against monkeypox.Its new strategy, endorsed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), suggests that eligibility would depend on a number of factors.A clinician may advise vaccination for someone who has a “recent history of multiple partners, participating in group sex, attending sex on premises venues or a proxy marker such as recent bacterial STI in the past year”.The guidance does not recommend vaccination to the general population.The current outbreak has largely occurred among gay and bisexual men, according to the UKHSA.Just five cases have been confirmed in women.Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at UKHSA, said: “Our extensive contact tracing work has helped to limit the spread of the monkeypox virus, but we are continuing to see a notable proportion of cases in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.“By expanding the vaccine offer to those at higher risk, we hope to break chains of transmission and help contain the outbreak.“Although most cases are mild, severe illness can occur in some people, so it is important we use the available vaccine to target groups where spread is ongoing.“The NHS will

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