The government will expand vaccination against monkeypox to “most exposed groups”, in particular homosexuals, multi-partner trans people, people in a situation of prostitution, after an opinion from the High Health Authority (HAS) to this effect. The HAS recommended extending vaccination to these groups on Friday July 8. “This advice will be followed”, announced shortly after Jérôme Salomon, Director General of Health. The new categories eligible for preventive vaccination “will be able to start making appointments next week if they wish”he added.
The HAS recommendation concerns “men who have sex with men and trans people who have multiple partners, people in a situation of prostitution and professionals working in places of sexual consumption”. This vaccination may also be considered “case by case” for professionals “helped to take care of sick people”the statement said.
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Until now, the High Authority for Health simply recommended vaccinating adults, including health professionals, who had risky contact with a patient. But the number of cases has increased, with 721 confirmed cases as of July 7, including 473 in Ile-de-France. Faced with the spread of the virus, “to the kinetics of the epidemic and the difficulties of tracing the contacts of infected people”the HAS had therefore been asked for an opinion by the Directorate General for Health.
To date, in France, 98% of cases for which sexual orientation is given have occurred in men who have sex with men (MSM). Of the cases for which information is available, 75% report having had at least two sexual partners in the three weeks before the onset of symptoms.
LGBTQ+ associations were rightly asking the government to extend preventive vaccination to all men who have sex with other men, but also to sex workers. These populations represent the majority of infected people, although cases have also been detected in immunocompromised people and some children. “You have to be able to offer a pre-exposure vaccination, before coming into contact with the virus”, press Franck Barbier, course and program manager at Aides.
“As of next week, around ten sites in Ile-de-France” will offer vaccination to the wider public, said Cécile Somaribba, director of monitoring and health security at the Ile-de-France Regional Health Agency. Marketed under the name Imvanex in Europe, the vaccine used is a 3rd generation vaccine (non-replicating live vaccine, i.e. one that does not replicate in the human body), authorized in Europe since 2013 and indicated against smallpox in adults.