Monkeypox: Italy begins vaccination campaign as cases hit 545

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Italy opened its vaccination campaign against monkeypox on Monday, as case numbers have increased at a time when health authorities are reporting vaccine shortages worldwide.

Italy has reported 545 cases of monkeypox, according to the health ministry. Its vaccination campaign has started more than a month after other countries that have seen higher numbers of cases, including the United States, Britain and Spain.

The first doses will be given at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome, the hospital said in a statement.

READ | Covid-19: So, what do we do with all of our masks now that they are no longer required?

Vaccines and treatments have been in short supply and the disease often left for historically underfunded sexual health clinics to manage.

Spallanzani said it already have 200 people who will be vaccinated from Monday onwards, as well as 600 requests for bookings.

The vaccine used will be Jynneos (MVA-BN), a smallpox vaccine made by Bavarian Nordic and approved by the European Medicines Agency for protection against monkeypox, the hospital said.

On Thursday, vaccinations will also begin in Italy's financial capital, Milan.

The virus continues to be largely transmitted among gay and bisexual men in the current outbreak spreading outside endemic countries, which began in May. Monkeypox is spread chiefly by close contact, causes pus-filled sores and flu-like symptoms, and is rarely fatal.


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