Island Health offering monkeypox vaccines to those who are most at risk

Appointments available in Nanaimo, Victoria and Comox Valley the week of July 25

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

Monkeypox vaccinations will be eligible for those most at risk in Victoria, Nanaimo and the Comox Valley next week.

In a press release, Island Health advised it is launching a vaccination campaign the week of July 25 for those who are 18 years or older who are “transgender, or self-identify as belonging to the gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men community,” who meet certain criteria. People in that cohort are eligible to be vaccinated if they have been diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis in the past two months; have had two or more sexual partners in the last 21 days; have had anonymous sex the past 21 days; or are planning to engage in sex work or pay for sex.

All who qualify are encouraged to book an appointment, said Island Health, and the B.C. Medical Services Plan is not required. The vaccine is not available to the general public as this time, the authority said.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, symptoms can occur in two stages with fever, chills, intense headache, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, exhaustion, and muscle and back pain in the first. The second stage can consist of sores and blisters in the hands, feet, arms, legs, mouth or genitals, lasting two to three weeks.

Currently there are 48 cases in the province, the BCCDC said.

To book an appointment, go to https://waitwhile.com/welcome/mpclinics.

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