The reported numbers of monkeypox (MPXV) have begun increasing in Australia. As of 8th September 2022 there have been three cases of monkeypox (MPXV) reported in Queensland. We understand that this might be concerning for some people within our community – especially as we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. These feelings of anxiety are understandable, however, MPXV and COVID-19 are very different.
In our previous post, we reported that unlike COVID19, MPXV is not as easily spread between people. MPXV is transmitted through close contact with lesions, bodily fluids, respiratory droplets and materials that have been in contact with a symptomatic person. Information about MPXV transmission, prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and links to other resources can be found here.
Queensland Health is working with the Commonwealth Department of Health and has secured a supply of monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS – Bavarian Nordic (BN) product) that is safe to use in people who are immunocompromised, which includes some people with HIV.
This vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, with at least 28 days between each dose. People will start to build protection in the days and weeks after their first dose but will not have full immunity from the vaccine until two weeks after the second dose.
The first limited supply of vaccines has been delivered in Queensland. Given the very limited supply of the vaccine, Queensland Health is working with a range of clinical services and partner organisations to identify people most at risk of infection so they can be prioritised for vaccination.
This rollout will be staggered and will initially prioritise close contacts and those at greatest risk of exposure to MPXV.
Your healthcare provider will reach out to you and invite you to be vaccinated if you are determined to be at high risk.
As the prevalence of MPXV in NSW and Victoria is currently much greater than in Queensland and there is established community transmission, the supply and rollout of the initial vaccine supply in these states will be different.
Health authorities are asking us to be please be patient as they work through vaccine distribution across Queensland. Vaccines will be available initially through Queensland Health facilities and s100 prescribing GP’s.
Additional vaccine supplies are likely to be available in Queensland in October, with further supplies available in 2023. When this happens, the vaccine rollout will be expanded and we will inform you of the clinics involved in the rollout and other arrangements including for people who are ineligible for Medicare.
We would like to reiterate that although a significant portion of the recently reported MPXV cases have been identified among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, MPXV is not considered a sexually transmitted infection and can affect anyone.
QPP urge people to be vigilant in looking for symptoms, especially those who have recently travelled overseas in Europe and the US and attended dance parties, sex parties or saunas.
Anyone with symptoms, particularly a rash, should call their s100 GP or local sexual health clinic to organise a telehealth consultation. You can also call 13 Health (13 43 25 84) for further information about symptoms and the vaccine rollout.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available on our dedicated MPXV page.