People in Israel who had gotten the first shot of the monkeypox vaccine are now eligible to get a second one, as the country’s health officials are now expanding their immunization campaign, which had been limited previously.
The vaccination for monkeypox is two doses that are to be administered after a few weeks’ gap. Back in the summer, when Israel had received its first batches of the vaccine, supply had been limited.
Therefore, only one dose had been administered to those who were eligible for the vaccine.
However, the Health Ministry announced that as of this week, those who had gotten the first shot should now get the second one.
The ministry urged those who had gotten the first dose about four weeks ago to get the second one by going to any one of the national health funds.
According to experts, a bigger rollout is likely to provide greater protection to people against the disease.
The head of the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians and a top epidemiologist, Prof. Hagai Levine said that it was a good sign that the Health Ministry had updated their vaccination policy for monkeypox.
He also added that the Health Ministry should also focus on the complementary measures that can be helpful in preventing monkeypox like community health services and health promotion.
This update to the monkeypox vaccination campaign in Israel comes just after the United States published research highlighting the devastating impacts of the disease.
According to the research, it can be disastrous for immunocompromised patients, particularly those who are suffering from untreated HIV.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US published data related to 57 patients who had been recently hospitalized due to monkeypox.
About 82% of these patients were suffering from HIV and 12 of them were unable to survive.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the CDC who oversees the monkeypox response said that the combination of HIV and monkeypox had proven to be tragic.
He said that the report highlighted the importance of access to HIV and monkeypox prevention and treatment for the lives of the people and public health in general.
Monkeypox in Israel
There are 260 people who have been diagnosed with monkeypox in Israel since the virus had first surfaced back in May.
Most of the cases have been identified in men who have sex with other men, but the Health Ministry said in its latest directive that any kind of intimate and direct contact can result in transmission.
It also said that it was not applicable to people of a specific sexual orientation. Therefore, they have decided to expand the eligibility of the vaccine.
Previously, it was for men who have sex with men and those at risk due to their health history, but now the vaccine is for any man believed to be at risk due to an infection.
The latest advice of the Health Ministry addresses getting tested for monkeypox and also getting vaccines for those who have been in contact with an infected person, or are suffering from a blistering rash and fever.