More vaccines to protect against monkeypox on their way to Australia


Additional supplies of vaccines that protect people from monkeypox are insured by the federal government.

More than 40 cases have been recorded across the country and last month Australia’s Chief Medical Officer declared the virus a “communicable disease incident of national concern”.

The federal health department says monkey pox (also known as MPX) is usually mild and people typically recover within a few weeks.

However, some people can become seriously ill, especially if they are immunocompromised.

Transmission occurs after close contact with lesions or bodily fluid of an infected person, and until now, most cases have been in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

Symptoms include a rash, which usually starts on the face and spreads to areas such as hands, feet, and chest.

Some people have reported rashes in their genital areas, as well as flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain.

Monkeypox Prevention and Treatment

People who contract monkey pox must isolate themselves until their sores have completely disappeared, which can take up to 21 days.

There are two types of smallpox vaccines that can be used to protect against MPX in Australia and while not recommended for everyone, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) has listed five key groups that qualify including

  • Anyone who has been at high risk of coming into contact with monkeypox in the past 14 days, such as health professionals, lab personnel who work with the smallpox or monkeypox virus
  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who have frequent sexual contact or who live with HIV
  • Sex workers, especially those whose clients fall into high-risk groups
  • Anyone in the above categories who plans to travel to a country where there is a significant outbreak
  • Vaccination suppliers administering the ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine

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Australia has a stock of ACAM2000, which can be used before or after monkeypox exposure.

It is known as a second generation vaccine and cannot be used in severely immunocompromised people and those with active eczema or pregnant women.

Unlike a regular vaccine, people receiving the shot should take extra precautions and cover the injection site until the scab falls off.

There are also rare but serious side effects associated with the single-dose vaccine, and health professionals need specialized training to administer it.

There is an alternative option known as JYNNEOS, which is a third-generation, limited supply vaccine insured by both federal and state governments.

It is the vaccine of choice for use because it has fewer potential side effects and is easier to administer.

Mr Butler talks at a press conference as Bill Shorten watches from behind
Health Secretary Mark Butler will announce more details on Thursday. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Health Secretary Mark Butler has confirmed that the government has now provided additional doses.

“We have secured the supply of new third-generation vaccines,” he said in a statement.

The minister is expected to provide further details on the doses and when they will arrive today.

On Wednesday, he insisted that the government and the Ministry of Health had been closely monitoring the evolving situation.

“We have been working very hard with top providers in this area, especially groups like the FAO, the Federation of AIDS Organizations,” he said on Wednesday.

“The clinicians in this area and many others who have a particular interest in the Monkeypox outbreak around the world.

“Chief Health Officers have regularly discussed our response.”

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