Toronto Public Health (TPH) continues to offer vaccinations to curb the spread of monkeypox in alignment with federal and provincial guidance on the administration of Imvamune vaccines. On Wednesday, August 24, the Province of Ontario released new guidance that expanded the eligible population for monkeypox pre-exposure vaccination. Beginning Friday, August 26, TPH will begin to immunize the expanded eligible population.
The new provincial guidance document outlines the use of one dose of pre-exposure monkeypox vaccine for the following populations:
Household members or sexual partners of individuals who meet the above criteria who are either moderately to severely immunocompromised or who are pregnant may receive the pre-exposure Monkeypox vaccine following a conversation with their health care provider.
The new provincial guidance also includes expanded eligibility for two doses of pre-exposure Monkeypox vaccine for the following populations:
Individuals who meet this expanded second dose criteria will be asked for a referral form from their physician or a copy of their prescription or to present their medications.
TPH continues to work closely with community partners to host vaccination clinics to protect those most at risk of contracting the monkeypox virus.
Over the next week, TPH will be offering at least 17 vaccination opportunities to protect residents and help curb virus spread. These clinics include:
The full list of public walk-in clinics for people meeting the provincial guidelines is available on the City of Toronto’s monkeypox webpage.
At this time, people who have a known exposure or close contact with someone with monkeypox can get the vaccine as a post-exposure prophylactic (PEP), even if they would not be eligible for pre-exposure prophylactic (PrEP). Monkeypox spreads person-to-person through contact with infected lesions, skin scabs, body fluids or respiratory secretions. It can also be transmitted by contact with materials contaminated with the virus (e.g., clothing, bedding). It can also be spread through bites or scratches from infected animals.
Anyone can get monkeypox, but during this outbreak, in a number of countries, gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men have been most affected.
Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes followed by the development of a rash or lesions over a person’s body. A rash or lesion will often appears within a few days after symptoms begin on the body. In some cases, the rash can appear before other symptoms. Most people recover from monkeypox on their own without treatment. Vaccination is being offered to protect against the monkeypox virus and can help reduce serious symptoms. Like most vaccines, the Imvamune vaccine can take up to two weeks for residents to be fully protected from the serious consequences linked to the monkeypox virus.
TPH is asking residents who have these signs and symptoms to report them to their health care provider as soon as possible. Close contacts of people suspected or confirmed to have a monkeypox infection are advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 21 days after their last exposure. If symptoms develop, they should self-isolate, seek care and get tested. Health care providers are reminded that individuals suspected of monkeypox infection must be reported to Public Health Ontario.
As with many other diseases spread through close contact, people can lower their risk by maintaining physical distance, frequent hand washing, and respiratory hygiene, including masking. Common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus.
TPH continues to follow up with anyone thought to be exposed to monkeypox. TPH also continues to work closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Health Ontario, and the Ontario Ministry of Health. TPH has communicated with local physicians to provide information on symptoms, laboratory testing and diagnosis, infection control precautions, treatment and reporting requirements for monkeypox.
More information about monkeypox is available on the City’s monkeypox webpage.
Additional information is also available on the GMSH website.
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