Gay Health Network (GHN) has today, September 2, published a letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly demanding further action surrounding monkeypox. While the organisation welcomed the plan to commence vaccinating at-risk people, and the news that injections would be administered intradermally, it also expressed concerns surrounding the rollout and wider financial support.
Due to the low availability of vaccines in Ireland, certain high-risk groups are being offered jabs first. The HSE announced on August 17 that they had identified approximately 6000 people at heightened risk of monkeypox infection, most, if not all of which, are gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) or Trans people who have been diagnosed with early infectious syphilis between December 2021 and July 2022.
GHN is calling for increased transparency surrounding how the individuals are being identified alongside a clarification of the timeline for when those outside this category can expect to get the jab. “This would go some distance to allay genuine and rising concern and anxiety in the community,” the group comments.
As we continue to live with #monkeypox & as there are limited vaccines, we can make informed choices when we understand better what actions increase the possibility of getting monkeypox.
Developed with #MPOWER & @HIVIreland
For more info visit https://t.co/dm8o9TpQPL pic.twitter.com/taH0Fg6lZk
— Man2Man Programme (@Man2ManIreland) September 2, 2022
The letter also outlines concerns surrounding vaccine accessibility, encouraging the State to act independently and with its EU and international partners to “ensure that pharmaceutical companies do not use their monopolies on a vaccine patent to prevent vaccine development for the world’s population”.
GHN calls for equal access to medicines globally, noting that in Africa, where monkeypox is endemic, they have yet to receive vaccines for the virus. “This is a moral failure,” the group adds.
Finally, due to the fact that those diagnosed with monkeypox may have to isolate for up to 28 days, the organisation is calling for income support equivalent to the PUP, in order to aid those who may miss out on work and pay.
“We ask you, as Minister of Health, that these concerns are further addressed as a matter of urgency as is appropriate for a public health emergency,” the letter concludes.
As of the latest update from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC), there have been 144 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland related to the current outbreak.
HPSC has now been notified of 144 confirmed cases of #monkeypox in Ireland. Today we’ve published the latest report on confirmed cases. Read the latest update on monkeypox in Ireland👉 https://t.co/swgBw09XwS pic.twitter.com/eHPfXXnwva
— HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) (@hpscireland) August 31, 2022
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