Manitoba

Manitoba expanding monkeypox vaccine to certain men who have sex with men

Manitoba Health is expanding eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine so people who are at a higher risk of being exposed can be immunized, including men who have sex with men, the province announced on Friday.

No cases identified in Manitoba yet, but Canada has reported 931 cases to date

A monkeypox virus particle is seen in this coloured transmission electron micrograph. To date, Manitoba hasn't seen any cases of the virus. (U.K. Health Security Agency/Science Photo Library)

Manitoba Health is expanding eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine so people who are at a higher risk of being exposed can be immunized, including men who have sex with men, the province announced on Friday.

The vaccine has been available in Manitoba since June for people who might have been exposed to the illness, which the chief of the World Health Organization labelled a global emergency in July, the province said in a news release.

Manitoba Health worked with the federal government to secure additional doses of the vaccine to use as a preventative measure, especially for men who have sex with men, although anyone can become infected with monkeypox.

The province says infections have primarily been reported among people who belong to the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men community.

No cases have been reported in Manitoba to date, but other provinces and territories have reported 931 cases as of Friday, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Closeup of a a hand sticking a need tip into an upside down vial of monkeypox vaccine.
A health-care worker prepares a syringe filled with the monkeypox vaccine. In Manitoba, certain men who have sex with men will be eligible for the vaccine, as well as anyone who might have been exposed to the virus. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

People are eligible for the vaccine if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • They have received a diagnosis of chlamydia, gonorrhea and/or syphilis in the past two months.
  • They have had two or more sexual partners in the last 21 days.
  • They have visited or are planning to visit places such as bath houses or sex clubs for sexual contact.
  • They have had anonymous sex in the past 21 days or are planning on it.
  • They engage in sex work or plan to, either as a worker or a client.

Vaccine appointments can be arranged at three locations in Winnipeg using an online booking tool, starting on Monday. They are:

  • Klinic Community Health, 167 Sherbrook St.
  • Access Winnipeg West, 280 Booth Dr.
  • Our Own Health Centre, 230 Osborne St.

People without internet access can call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 to book an appointment. Individuals outside of Winnipeg should contact their local public health office to schedule an immunization. Public health will also be reaching out to eligible populations to support immunization efforts.

Those who have had close contact with someone who has monkeypox will continue to be eligible for post-exposure vaccination, and can contact their local public health office to schedule their vaccination.

Symptoms of monkeypox, which can appear flu-like, can include fever, headache, muscle and back aches, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. More information is available on the province's website.

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