HTB

Mpox vaccines still available and recommended in the UK and US

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

The mpox vaccine should still be available from sexual health clinics in England, and hopefully other countries in the UK. It is important to increase awareness of this.

This follows a reversal of the earlier decision to end the vaccine programme in July, though continued access was not announced publicly. [1]

It is therefore an ideal time for people to access the vaccine and/or to complete the recommended two-dose course if they previously only received one dose.

The US CDC recently publicised the importance of broader and routine access to the vaccine in the US for people in the following groups who are at higher risk of mpox. [2]

  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender, or nonbinary people who in the past 6 months have had one of the following:
  • Being diagnosed with a┬ánew sexually transmitted disease.
  • More than one sex partner.
  • Sex at a commercial sex venue.
  • Sex in association with a large public event in a geographic area where mpox transmission is occurring.
  • Sexual partners of persons with the risks described in above.
  • Persons who anticipate experiencing any of the above.

comment

A summary of mpox in Europe continue to be published as a joint ECDC and WHO regional report.

This included 175 cases during the four weeks up to 6 September 2023, from 13 countries and areas. This included 46 in Spain, 41 in Portugal and 28 in the UK. [3]

The highest risk of severe mpox complications is associated with a very low CD4 count in people who are either not yet diagnosed with HIV or who have disconnected from care and who are no longer on ART.

This is a good reason to routinely link HIV testing to the mpox vaccine.

People whose HIV test is negative or who are diagnosed with HIV with a CD4 count >200 cells/mm3 could receive an mpox vaccine at the same time.

People diagnosed HIV positive with a lower CD4 count are likely to get a better vaccine response after they have started ART.

References

  1. UKHSA press release. People still eligible for mpox vaccine urged to come forward. (22 March 2023).
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/people-still-eligible-for-mpox-vaccine-urged-to-come-forward
  2. US CDC. CDC Director Adopts Recommendation of Routine Use of Mpox Vaccine to Protect Those at Risk. (2 November 2023).
    https://www.hiv.gov/blog/cdc-director-adopts-recommendation-routine-use-mpox-vaccine-protect-those-at-risk
  3. Joint ECDC / WHO European Regional Office for Europe mpox surveillance bulletin. (10 October 2023).
    https://monkeypoxreport.ecdc.europa.eu

This report was first published on 2 November 2023.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.