Minister for Health announces updates to Ireland’s monkeypox vaccine strategy

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The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has accepted new recommendations in relation to Ireland’s monkeypox vaccination programme.

On Friday last, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave updated advice relating to intradermal use of vaccines for monkeypox. This advice was considered by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) who have in turn made recommendations to the interim Chief Medical Officer (iCMO), Professor Breda Smyth who has endorsed these recommendations.

  • NIAC has recommended the administration of the Monkeypox vaccine intradermally as a two doses regimen 28 days apart.
  • NIAC has indicated that these recommendations for intradermal administration of the vaccine are interim in nature while the global supply of monkeypox vaccine remains in short supply.

Minister Donnelly said: “I welcome today’s update to our monkeypox vaccine programme. These latest recommendations from NIAC could provide for a fivefold increase in available doses of vaccine and I would like to thank the members of the NIAC for their swift review of the latest evidence.

“While anyone, regardless of their sexuality can get Monkeypox, surveillance data indicates that almost all cases in Ireland, are in men who self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (gbMSM). I have had several meetings with stakeholders and representatives of this community over the course of the summer and I will continue to work with my Department and the HSE to facilitate this helpful, open engagement.”

Professor Smyth said: “Today is an important day as we continue to vaccinate those most at risk from monkeypox infection. These recommendations will enable more extensive roll out of the vaccination programme. The Monkeypox Strategic Advisory Group will continue to work with the HSE’s Monkeypox Crisis Management Team and the Sexual Health Clinical Leads to progress and support our vaccine programme.

“If you have any symptoms of a rash or a fever with a rash, you should present yourself to a sexual health unit or your GP for advice. Self-isolate for the required period of time if you are diagnosed with a monkeypox infection, or if you’re awaiting results of a test. If you’re offered the vaccine, it’s very important that you attend your appointment for the vaccine. The best way to protect yourself is to carry out risk reduction behaviours such as avoiding premises of high risk, avoid high risk events where it is difficult to avoid skin to skin contact with others and practice safe sexual behaviours.”

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