ACT UP Dublin (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) has issued a call on the government to provide the monkeypox vaccine in Ireland.
The current outbreak of the virus was first diagnosed in the UK on May 7 this year. Since then cases in the UK have risen to over 2,000 with worldwide figures totalling more than 14,000. As of yesterday, the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre had identified 69 cases in Ireland.
HPSC has now been notified of 69 confirmed cases of #monkeypox in Ireland. Today we’ve published the latest report on confirmed cases. Read the latest update on monkeypox in Ireland
— HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) (@hpscireland) July 20, 2022
In a statement released on social media last night, ACT UP Dublin said, “The current outbreak is disproportionately impacting Gay and Bisexual men; and while the virus is not specifically transmitted through sexual activity, close and intimate contact can transmit this virus.”
Although the virus is not considered to be life-threatening it does cause considerable pain and discomfort for those affected. Symptoms can include muscle pain, backache, fever, exhaustion, and painful lesions which may occur anywhere on the body.
Highlighting the importance of vaccination, the statement cites Dr John Gilmore, Assistant Professor in Nursing at UCD and ACT UP Dublin activist, as saying “We’ve seen over the past two years the importance of prompt vaccination in preventing further spread and negative impact of viruses; while monkeypox is very different to COVID-19 it does impact negatively on those who are infected with uncomfortable symptoms.”
He continued, “When we know that there is an effective vaccine available, it is negligent not to provide it to those most at risk. An effective vaccination programme will not only help curtail the spread of the virus, but also ease the building anxiety amongst gay and bisexual men, who are the most effected [sic].”
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In the statement, ACT UP acknowledged the work that the HSE has done through the MPOWER programme in creating awareness campaigns but said that it has failed to communicate any information on the rollout of monkeypox vaccinations in Ireland.
The group stated that they have written to the Minister for Health and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee seeking clarity on a vaccination programme but so far have received no response.
They conclude the statement by saying, “ACT UP Dublin calls on the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and the HSE to take immediate action in making vaccines available to those at most risk.”
— ACT UP Dublin (@ActUpDublin) July 20, 2022
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