NL starts preventive vaccination against monkeypox in Amsterdam, The Hague
For the first time, the Netherlands is vaccinating people preventively against the monkeypox virus. The preventive shots start on Monday in the Amsterdam and The Hague regions because most infections have been detected there. The health authorities will expand it to the rest of the country later. The first group eligible for vaccination consists of approximately 32,000 people.
Over the past weeks, the Dutch health services GGD already vaccinated a small group of people against the monkeypox virus. They were at active risk of becoming infected, for example, because they had close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
As of Thursday, there were 712 cases of monkeypox in the Netherlands. The number of infections increased quickly in the past weeks. Most of the people who tested positive are men who have sex with men (MSM). Therefore, the GGDs first invited MSM and transgender people who are HIV positive or taking medicines to prevent them from contracting HIV for the vaccination. “Here there is expected to be a large overlap with the highest risk group” for monkeypox infection, according to the expert advice on which the health service based the vaccination strategy.
Each person requires two doses of vaccine four weeks apart.
The monkeypox virus spreads through skin-to-skin contact. While the Netherlands’ current outbreak primarily affects men who have sex with men, anyone can get the virus. At least three women and one child have been infected in the Netherlands.
People tend not to get very sick from the monkeypox virus. It causes symptoms like fever, headaches, muscle aches, and general malaise. A rash with blisters may appear a few days into the infection.
The preventive vaccination campaign is kicking off sooner than the GGDs expected. Last week, a spokesperson for GGD Amsterdam said it would take another few weeks to get ready.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times