Gay Health Network (GHN) is urging the Irish Government to speed up the monkeypox vaccine rollout process. The organisation is calling for quicker acquisition of the currently limited jab, as well as inclusive, equitable, ethical and transparent administration.
According to the latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) published on August 3, confirmed monkeypox cases have reached 97 in Ireland, and are expected to surpass the 100 mark this week.
On July 26, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced plans to extend the use of the smallpox vaccine that protects against monkeypox to high-risk individuals including gbMSM, but as of yet, no further information has been communicated with regards to how and when people can receive the two-dose jab.
The latest information we have on access to #monkeypox vaccine.
💉Ireland has a supply but it’s ‘low and limited’
👉🏻 Gay and bi men identified as most in need of access
📆HSE is creating a vaccine plan but no date yet
— Adam Shanley (@Adlers1) August 5, 2022
GHN is asking that the government continue to work closely with community partners when devising the rollout strategy, and consult with and provide information to groups advocating on behalf of gbMSM.
Bill Foley, Secretary of GHN, stated: “The gbMSM community has had the benefit of a good information campaign on the signs symptoms and risk factors associated with monkeypox. We are therefore in a good position to self-identify as at risk and priority for vaccination. We would call on the HSE to roll out the vaccine programme on this basis.
“Providing vaccination early on in a potential epidemic is essential in preventing its spread. We call on the HSE to invest in a vaccine programme that in the long term provides a vaccine to all those who need it,” he concluded.
Advocacy group ACT UP Dublin has also been demanding action from the government as of late. In a tweet published on August 4, the organisation asked: “Why won’t Public Health bodies in Ireland follow other countries lead and give vaccinations to those who need it based on self-assessed risk?
“Because again & again public health organisations show their lack of trust in marginalised groups like gay and bisexual men,” ACT UP Dublin expressed.
Why won’t Public Health bodies in Ireland follow other countries lead and give vaccinations to those who need it based on self-assessed risk?
Because again & again public health organisations show their lack of trust in marginalised groups like gay and bisexual men https://t.co/2RAqmHrGHy
— ACT UP Dublin (@ActUpDublin) August 4, 2022
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