Mpox vaccine programme extended in London after small rise in cases

A person receives a vaccine.

The mpox vaccine programme will continue in London after a number of cases were discovered.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced on Friday (16 June) that vaccines will continue to be given in London, after 11 new cases were found in the city over the last few weeks.

The nationwide vaccine programme was due to end end in July.

The majority of these cases were reported by unvaccinated individuals, while three had only received one dose.

“It is vital we respond to the recent rises in cases,” UKHSA chief medical adviser professor Susan Hopkins said. “That is why we are extending mpox vaccinations in London.

“If you live in London or regularly travel there or abroad and have sex and are eligible for vaccination, please do consider it.”

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UKHSA reiterated that the highest risk of infection is still in London, primarily in “interconnected sexual networks” of gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.

The vaccine remains available elsewhere for the next six weeks.

“While mpox infection is mild for many, it can cause severe symptoms, including unusual rashes and blisters, a fevere and a headache,” Hopkins continued. “It’s important people remain alert to the risks. Vaccination is key to reducing the severity of symptoms and preventing further transmission.”

Nationwide case numbers remain low, with at least 21 reported cases of mpox in the UK since the start of 2023.

However, UKHSA has said it is keeping a close eye on new cases to ensure that the small outbreak does not leave London.

NHS England has also said it is assessing further options for vaccine availability across the country, specifically to high risk areas or new clusters.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said: “Thanks to the swift action taken to roll out mpox vaccines to the most vulnerable, overall cases across the country have been very low in recent months.

“However, we must remain vigilant, and in light of the recent cases in London, it is right to extend the mpox vaccination programme in the capital for first and second doses.

“Please do not delay coming forward for the maximum protection. Visit a sexual health clinic offering the vaccination to reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill.”

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