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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ Aug.18, 2022 @acenewsservices
#AceNewsDesk – Queensland’s #monkeypox vaccine stockpile is so small it’s not meeting demand, GP says
Queenslanders at risk of catching monkeypox are trying to get vaccinated before travelling to overseas hotspots, but the state’s stockpile is so small they’re unable to access it.
Just 300 doses have arrived in the state, but they’ve been kept for close contacts and new cases, Queensland Health said.
Brisbane student Karl Townsend, 27, has been trying to get vaccinated before travelling to Italy for an exchange on Sunday, but has had “no luck”.
“I don’t have the option to even try and protect myself,” Mr Townsend said.
“It’s a bit frustrating.”
Europe has recorded 16,495 monkeypox cases, according to the World Health Organization’s latest situation report, which was published last week. More than 10,800 cases were confirmed in the Americas.
Wendell Rosevear — a general practitioner at a Brisbane clinic specialising in LGBTQI+ healthcare — urged authorities to vaccinate Australians in high-risk categories before travelling overseas.
“We need to actually be proactive to help them avoid bringing it back to Australia,” Dr Rosevear said.
Queensland has so far recorded three monkeypox cases – all caught overseas.
But Dr Rosevear said transmission here was “inevitable” as more Australians dusted off their passports.
He is calling for the state to source more doses urgently, and expand access beyond close contacts and cases.
“The need, the demand and the expectation is much greater than the 300 vaccines that are available,” he said.
“There are probably 3,000 vaccines coming in late September or October, but that’s not going to meet expectation, need or demand.”
Infection can be ‘debilitating’
The clinic’s manager, Arian Waldock, said the centre was receiving daily calls about the vaccine.
“We tell [patients] that we know that it’s coming but unfortunately we don’t have any firm information,” he said.
“People are just wanting to be proactive and keep themselves safe, and if they can get vaccinated early they’re hoping to achieve that.
“There are a lot of people who are travelling who want to get it either before they travel or upon their return.”
Dr Rosevear said anyone could catch monkeypox and it was not classified as a sexually transmitted infection, though most of the spread was between men having sex with each other.
He said the infection was rarely fatal but could be “debilitating”, and could cause painful lesions, fever, headaches and lethargy.
“It can immobilise people for three weeks. You need to isolate,” he said.
“So if we’re going to prevent spread, we need better access.”
Dr Rosevear said private GPs should be able to offer the vaccine.
“Some people really value their health and they’d be willing to pay for the vaccine.”
What vaccines are available?
Only one company makes Australia’s preferred vaccine, JYNNEOS, and it is in short supply amid surging global demand.
It is also used for smallpox and manufactured by the Danish company Bavarian Nordic.
The other vaccine approved in Australia, ACAM2000, uses older technology and requires specialised training to administer.
Because it contains the live virus, it is not suitable for immunocompromised people, pregnant women, and even eczema sufferers.
Queensland Health has confirmed the state has received an “initial allocation” of 300 doses and did not say when more would arrive.
“We are working closely with the federal government to secure additional vaccines over the coming weeks, although it is anticipated that global demand may influence supply,” a Queensland Health spokesperson told the ABC.
“Those who are eligible for vaccination will be contacted.”
The Australian government has secured 450,000 third-generation vaccines for monkeypox in what it described as a “highly-contested” global market for the jabs.
The government said earlier this month 22,000 would arrive during August, 100,000 “over the course of the year” and 350,000 doses in 2023.
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