Aussie state to begin rollout of monkeypox vaccine
Health authorities in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) will begin the nation's first rollout of monkeypox vaccination on Monday as cases of the infectious disease continue to rise. As of Friday morning, Australia had 58 confirmed monkeypox cases, 56 of whom caught the virus overseas, and 33 were registered in NSW.
In response to the escalating crisis, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said people in high-risk groups, including gay and bisexual men, sex workers and those who are HIV-positive, would be eligible for the state's first 5,500 doses from the start of next week.
Those doses are among a shipment of 22,000 due to arrive in Australia in the coming days with another 30,000 allocated for NSW next month and then hundreds of thousands more next year.
All up, the federal government has ordered 450,000 doses, which are based on a smallpox vaccine, from the Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic.
Australian Health Minister Mark Butler, in a statement on Thursday, said Australia had responded early to the outbreak, by securing vaccines "in a time of limited supply and significant global demand."