- 17 Oct 22
Those who are considered most at risk of contracting the virus are men or transgender women who have sex with men and are non-monogamous.
Monkeypox vaccination centres have opened around Ireland for high-priority groups, with the HSE's online booking system launching on Monday.
There are now 11 vaccination centres around the country in a number of locations, including Dublin (St. James', Vincent's and Mater Hospital), Galway, Cork, Limerick, Wexford and Portlaoise.
198 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Ireland as of midnight on October 8th, 2022. Cases are predominantly male, with an average age of 35 years, and self-identify as gbMSM (gay and bisexual men who have sex with men).
The smallpox vaccine, Modified Vaccinia Ankara - Bavarian Nordic (MVA-BN), which is a weakened strain of the vaccinia virus, can be used to protect against monkeypox. This is possible as monkeypox is caused by a similar virus to smallpox.
According to the HSE website, the vaccine is currently available to at-risk groups, i.e. men or transgender women who have sex with men and are non-monogamous. Find more details here.
Vaccines are available regardless of immigration status and a PPS number is not required for vaccination.
Those who are offered a vaccine and have not previously contracted the virus will get two doses of the monkeypox vaccine, 28 days apart.
People who have had monkeypox do not need to get a vaccine at this time, according to the HSE.
Monkeypox spreads from person to person through very close contact, such as sexual contact, but also between people in the same household, according to the HSE. It can also be spread by touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs, or bedding and the like used by an infected person.
Found in some animal populations in remote parts of Central and West Africa, the virus has caused occasional limited outbreaks in local communities and travellers. It is uncommon that most of the cases detected internationally do not have a travel link to these parts of Africa. Nevertheless, the risk of catching monkeypox is considered low.
Symptoms of the monkeypox virus infection include an itchy rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
The HSE has established a Monkeypox Crisis Management Team (CMT) to coordinate the response to the outbreak in Ireland. It also continues to actively monitor the evolving international situation.
You can book an appointment to receive the monkeypox vaccine here.