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expert reaction to UKHSA release saying mpox vaccinations will be extended in London following recent spike in cases

A press release from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) states that vaccinations against mpox are to be extended in London following a recent cluster of cases,


Dr Jake Dunning, NHS Consultant in Infectious Diseases and a Senior Research Fellow at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, University of Oxford, said:

“Although the mpox we see in the UK is mild for most and will resolve spontaneously, it is still an unpleasant infection, it does transmit to others following close contact, and severe disease and complications do occur in some people, including otherwise healthy people.  Of the thousands known to have caught the infection in the last 12 months in the UK, over 160 needed to be admitted to hospital.

“Controlling a novel outbreak is always challenging, even when a vaccine has been developed.  UKHSA and the NHS worked hard to offer vaccination to those at risk of exposure to mpox, as quickly as possible, particularly vaccines for gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men.  When UKHSA announced earlier this year that the existing mpox outbreak vaccination campaign would be stepped down by July 2023, following significantly reduced case numbers and fewer people seeking vaccination, they added that they would monitor case numbers closely and respond to any new outbreaks, including continuing offers of vaccination if indicated.  That’s exactly what’s happening now, which is great and very sensible.

“I encourage all those who are eligible to accept the offer of vaccination.  Those who have already had one of the two doses of vaccine should accept the offer of a second dose, to gain optimal protection.  Data show the vaccine used (Imvanex) is effective and safe.  No one can predict whether we will see another large outbreak of mpox in the UK this year, but other countries are also seeing a rise in cases in gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men, so it makes sense to get protected now if you may be at risk.

“Anyone with signs and symptoms of mpox should seek medical advice rather than ignore the illness; more information is available on the NHS website.  Trials of promising new treatments for mpox also continue, including in the UK.”



Declared interests

Dr Jake Dunning: “Jake Dunning is an NHS Consultant in Infectious Diseases and a Senior Research Fellow at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, University of Oxford.  He has managed cases of mpox since 2018, does mpox research in the UK, Europe, and Africa, and is a member of the WHO Emergency Committee for mpox.  He has no financial conflicts of interest to declare.  His views do not necessarily represent those of the NHS, UKHSA, or the WHO.”

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