The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the safety of those at risk of Monkeypox (MPX) and has been working closely with states, territories and key stakeholders to ensure a coordinated national response.
The second shipment of almost 40,000 vials of the MPX vaccine JYNNEOS has arrived in Australia and will be made available through states and territories. More doses are scheduled to arrive this year and throughout 2023.
Through peak organisations, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), state-based LGBTQ+ health organisation ACON in NSW and Thorne Harbour Health in Victoria, new case numbers have been suppressed in Australia, with only one case diagnosed during October. However, vaccination remains important, particularly as we head into summer and World Pride events, which will see many international visitors to Australia.
The arrival of new vaccines coincides with the launch of a new national campaign funded by the Australian Government.
The Prick–Pause–Play campaign includes important messages about knowing MPX symptoms, risk factors, prevention strategies and the importance of vaccination. It has been developed and delivered by Emen8, a national digital HIV prevention and sexual health resource for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men produced in partnership between ACON and Thorne Harbour Health.
Featuring community members from a diverse range of backgrounds and lifestyles, the campaign will appear across targeted social media channels, search engines and digital applications popular among gay and bisexual men.
Earlier this year amid a global shortage due to high demand, Australia successfully secured 450,000 vials of the JYNNEOS vaccine. Of those, 100,000 vaccines are to be delivered in 2022 and the remaining 350,000 next year.
Almost 25,000 people across Australia were at the highest risk of MPX receive their first vaccination.
More information about the vaccine is available on health.gov.au/monkeypox-mpx or through state and territory health department websites.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said, “We are in a very good position to prevent further transmission of Monkeypox in Australia, having secured 450,000 vials of the new JYNNEOS vaccine.”
“Although case numbers are falling, it is important for those at higher risk of MPX infection to look out for symptoms, seek urgent medical help they might have been exposed, and to get vaccinated if eligible,” Butler said.
Darryl O’Donnell, the CEO of AFAO welcomes the arrival of the next batch of Monkeypox vaccines and encourages all those eligible to take up the free vaccine.
“So far, we have not seen a rapid spread of the virus in Australia. However, with the warmer months and forthcoming pride events, case numbers may very well increase. So it’s important that we continue to raise awareness of MPX along with strategies to prevent infection, including getting the vaccine,” O’Donnell said.
Nicolas Parkhill CEO of ACON hopes that the campaign will further inform the communities about how to stay safe and the importance of getting the MPX vaccine.
“Our communities have always been proactive in taking measures to protect our collective health and we have seen that recently by the strong uptake of the MPX vaccine. People should continue taking steps to prevent them contracting MPX. And if you develop any symptoms, particularly an unusual rash, lesions or sores, seek medical attention by calling ahead to your GP or local sexual health clinic,” Parkhill said.