Amid serious vaccine shortages and increasing case numbers, people in Europe are crossing borders to receive the monkeypox vaccine as authorities in their own nations struggle to provide doses.
Vaccination in Italy will begin this week. A total of 4,200 doses have been allocated to areas where caseloads are high, as per the health ministry, with stock left over for emergencies. More doses are expected later in August.
Meanwhile, Marco Stizioli, of sexual health advocacy group PrEP in Italia, said the slow speed of the rollout was “making some men who have sex with men get vaccinated overseas.”
He said, “Where the state is unable to act, it’s the community’s ability to network internationally and exchange information that makes the difference. Italy’s actual caseload of around 500 was “most certainly” an underestimate due to limited testing.
According to local media reports, “People in several European countries are travelling inside and outside the EU to receive vaccines.”
Benjamin Michelet, a Lausanne resident working in government, travelled to Paris as the jab was not yet available in Switzerland.
Michelet said, “I feel like we have been betrayed once, like the previous generations of gay guys have been betrayed by governments in the Aids crisis. I am lucky enough maybe to live in a better era where medicine is available so if I can get some, I will get some, being vaccinated was also a way of stopping the disease from spreading.”
Over 27,000 cases have been logged since May, the vast majority among men who have sex with men.