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Mpox: Government urged to extend vaccination programme after new cases found

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Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading sexual health charity, is urging the government to extend its mpox vaccination programme after a new cluster of cases was identified.

The interim epidemiological update published on 25 May stated 10 new cases of mpox, which was formerly known as monkeypox, have been diagnosed – all of which were in London.

Half of these were in unvaccinated individuals, while two were in people who had only received one dose. Five of the cases were acquired in the UK, with four believed to have been from somewhere abroad and one remaining under investigation. “It is clear from these latest statistics that mpox has not gone away,” said Katy Sinka, Head of Sexually Transmitted Infections at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). “While mpox infection is mild for many, it can cause severe symptoms for some so it’s important people remain alert to the risks. “Vaccination is key to reducing the severity of symptoms and preventing further transmission. “Uptake of first doses has been strong but only around a third of those who have received their first dose have had their second dose so far.” The mpox vaccination programme is to be wound down in England over the summer It was recently announced that England’s mpox vaccination programme is no longer needed and will be wound down in the summer, but the UKHSA is keeping the situation under close review.

Appointments to receive a first dose of the vaccine will remain available for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men at highest risk until 16 June, with bookings for second doses available until the end of July.

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