There is concern about the spread of monkeypox after the Pride event in Madrid last weekend. / sur

Spain considers extending monkeypox virus vaccine to at-risk groups

At present, the vaccination is only given to people who have been exposed to the virus and are at high risk of suffering severe symptoms if they catch it

SUR Madrid

Spain’s Public Health Commission is debating whether to extend vaccination against monkeypox to at-risk groups, which are understood to be people who have had group sex with strangers and multiple sexual partners in the last year, even if they have not had direct contact with an infected person.

At present, the vaccination is only given to people who have been exposed to the virus and are at high risk of suffering severe symptoms if they catch it. Now, the idea is to give priority to immunising the population who are most likely to be exposed to the monkeypox virus, which is basically men who have sex with other men, are included in HIV prevention treatments or infected by HIV and monitored by hospitals, and who have not had monkeypox.

Children, pregnant women and those who are immune depressed will also be vaccinated if they have been in close contact with confirmed cases of the virus, and so will medical and laboratory staff who handle samples if there is any risk of them having come into contact with it.

Due to the shortage of vaccines, for the moment only one dose would be given to those at risk who have not had close contact with anyone with monkeypox. A second dose would be given when more vaccines are available.

Concern about the crowds in Madrid

The Public Health Commission became particularly concerned at the risk of monkeypox spreading after the Pride festivities in Madrid last weekend. On Saturday around 600,000 people gathered to watch the traditional parade.

Last week Spain received the first 5,300 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, and two more deliveries are expected in the next few months. These are in addition to the 200 doses of Invamex which Spain also bought, and those are already being administered.