The vaccination campaign against monkey pox is unfolding in Italy
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Italy opened its vaccination campaign against monkeypox on Monday as the number of cases has risen at a time when health authorities are reporting vaccine shortages around the world.
Italy has reported 545 cases of monkeypox, according to the health ministry. Its vaccination campaign has begun more than a month after other countries that have recorded a higher number of cases, such as the United States, Great Britain and Spain.
The first doses will be given at Rome’s Spallanzani hospital, the hospital said in a statement.
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Vaccines and treatments have been in short supply, and the disease is often left to historically underfunded sexual health clinics.
Spallanzani said he already has 200 people who will be vaccinated starting Monday, as well as 600 requests for reservations.
The vaccine to be used will be Jynneos (MVA-BN), a smallpox vaccine manufactured by Bavarian Nordic and approved by the European Medicines Agency for protection against monkeypox, the hospital said.
Vaccinations will also begin in the Italian financial capital, Milan, on Thursday.
The virus continues to be transmitted largely among gay and bisexual men in the current outbreak that is spreading outside of endemic countries, which began in May. Monkeypox is spread primarily by close contact, causes pus-filled sores and flu-like symptoms, and is rarely fatal. There have now been 26,500 cases worldwide outside countries where it usually spreads, according to a Reuters tracker.
In July, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern,” its highest alert level.
Following the WHO measure, the United States – which now has the most cases in the world – also declared monkeypox a public health emergency on August 4.
Italy’s health ministry said gay, bisexual and transgender men who have recently had sex with multiple partners, recently had a sexually transmitted infection or used chemical drugs when having sex would be eligible for the vaccine . Hospital staff dealing with cases of monkeypox are also eligible.
The first case in Italy was recorded on May 20, 2022. There are currently no plans for mass vaccination.
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The Lazio region surrounding Rome received 1,200 doses of the vaccine, while Lombardy received 2,000, Emilia-Romagna received 600 and the Veneto surrounding Venice received 400.