UK ‘on the brink of running out of monkeypox vaccines’

UK 'on the brink of running out of monkeypox vaccines'

People queuing for vaccines

Demand for the monkeypox vaccine has surged in the UK (Image: Reuters)

Britain will run out of monkeypox vaccines in two to three weeks, according to a report.

Weeks after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus outbreak a global health emergency, there are concerns that LGBTQ+ communities most vulnerable to the viral infection could be left stranded.

As demand for vaccinations rises, there are just over 8,300 doses of vaccine left, according to an internal NHS letter cited by the Financial Times.

Shipments of a new order of 100,000 doses will not resume until September, the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) told in a statement.

Claire Dewsnap, chair of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said that at current levels of demand, it was “likely” that the UK would run out of shots in around 10 to 20 days.

“It was thought that the number needing vaccination would be lower than what we are seeing in the clinic and the demand is high,” he said.

According to the latest available figures for July 25 and 31, a total of 5,206 cases were reported worldwide.

UK virus cases are ‘stacking up’, according to the health agency (Image: AP)

In the UK, there had been 2,859 confirmed and highly probable cases of the viral disease as of last Thursday.

But last week, the UKHSA said cases in the country were “expanding”.

Global stocks of the smallpox vaccine used to combat monkeypox are limited due to the historically low prevalence of cases outside of countries where the virus has been endemic for many years.

Dr Mary Ramsay, UKHSA’s director of clinical programmes, said: “UKHSA moved early to procure more than 150,000 doses of the smallpox vaccine from the global manufacturer to meet expected demand in the UK.

“Around 50,000 of these have been received so far and made available to the NHS for distribution across the country.

“The rollout continues apace, with the vaccine being offered to people most at risk of coming into contact with monkeypox to offer them protection and help contain the current outbreak.

“The thousands of vaccines administered by the NHS so far among those with the highest risk of exposure should have a significant impact on the transmission of the virus.”

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