The call for the vaccine against monkeypox in Belgium is rising fast among men who are having same-sex relationships, but the nation does not have much stock to give a shot to everyone who wants to be vaccinated.
As per Laurens Liesenborghs, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITG), the Netherlands has started a preventive vaccination campaign for people who run a great risk of getting infected, Belgium has done no such thing, despite the rising demand for preventive vaccination against monkeypox among men who are having sex with men.”
He said, “For many gay men, the infection is getting closer, many now know some people who have had the monkeypox. Therefore, they are also becoming more concerned about their health. As well as they do not want to have to go into isolation & tell their colleagues or family that they have contracted monkeypox infection.”
According to the recent figures by the Sciensano National Health Institute, 393 confirmed cases of monkeypox were reported in Belgium as of Monday, 25 July: 218 in Flanders, 133 in Brussels and 42 in Wallonia.
“Healthcare workers and people who had an unprotected high-risk contact with an infected person can get vaccinated against monkeypox in one of the nine reference centres,” a statement by Sciensano reads.
While monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, the virus does need long and close skin contact with an infected person to spread. “Vaccination should happen within four days after the contact. People who have not been vaccinated against the ‘classic’ smallpox should receive two doses, at least 28 days apart.”
Those who think they qualify for vaccination are advised to contact their doctor, who can discuss their eligibility with the reference centre. “Due to the limited number of vaccines and the current uncertainty about additional supplies, this vaccination is only carried out under strict conditions.”