A vaccine that will tackle monkeypox will be rolled out across Scotland later this year amid concerns over the illness.
The Scottish Government said that people in priority risk groups will be given the jab as part of a ‘pre-exposure’ monkeypox vaccine programme.
Gay and bisexual men considered to be a high risk of contracting the disease will be included in the roll out, in addition to certain healthcare workers.
Full details of the rollout will be released by the Scottish Government in the near future.
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The move comes after the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination (JCVI) recommended that high risk people should be offered the smallpox vaccine Imvanex.
Studies have shown that the jab is effective against monkeypox.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Following the advice published today by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to help control the outbreak of monkeypox, Scotland will move to a pre-exposure vaccination programme for priority risk groups.
“We are working with our partners at Public Health Scotland (PHS) and in line with the published advice, endorsed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), to determine the delivery of a vaccine programme.
“Full details on how eligible people can get vaccinated will be set out shortly, but we can confirm we are planning to offer the vaccine to certain healthcare workers and some gay and bisexual men considered to be at higher risk of contracting the disease.
“People are advised not to come forward for the vaccine until contacted.”
Public Health Scotland (PHS) have so far confirmed 18 cases of monkeypox in Scotland between May 23 and June 19.
Most of the cases are said to be in men who are gay or bisexual or in men who have sex with men.
The JCVI said that an individual’s eligibility for the vaccine would depend on a number of factors, and it would be similar to the criteria used to assess those eligible for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) - but applied regardless of HIV status.
They also states that clinician may advise vaccination for someone who has multiple partners, participates in group sex or attends ‘ sex on premises’ venues.
Monkeypox has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but can be passed on by direct contact during sex.
Initial symptoms from the illness includes a fever, headache, muscle aches, backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
A rash can also develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.
As of June 20, 793 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox have been found across the whole of the UK.
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