There are reportedly only around 5,000 doses of the vaccine as supply issues cause problems. According to some sources, the shots could run out in as little as 10 to 20 days, with no more shipments expected until late September. Bookings in some areas are also reportedly closed already as a result of the warnings.
According to an internal NHS letter, 100,000 shipments will be delivered in September.
However, Claire Dewsnap, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, has warned there would be a period of around three to four weeks in which no new doses would arrive.
She told the Financial Times: “It was thought the number needing vaccination would be lower than we are seeing in clinic and demand is high.”
It comes as 2,768 cases in the UK have currently been confirmed.
In the document, health chiefs call on the health service to “urgently” formulate a plan to cover the period to the end of September due to “these acute supply constraints and the urgency of reaching those at highest risk”.
It adds that “this is clearly all very difficult and very sensitive, and not a position that any of us would like to be in”.
While document, seen by publications yesterday, warned that only 8,300 vaccines were left, today Sky News reported that only 5,000 remain.
An NHS spokesperson said: “The NHS has quickly stood up capacity to offer the monkeypox vaccine to those eligible in line with UKHSA’s guidance and while supply is currently severely limited, the NHS is expecting to receive more doses in the coming weeks.’
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Dr Mary Ramsay, director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health and Security Agency said: “The recent and sudden global outbreak of monkeypox has caused a huge upsurge in demand for these limited stocks around the world.”
She added: ‘UKHSA moved early to procure over 150,000 doses of the smallpox vaccine from the global manufacturer to meet expected demand in the UK.
“Around 50,000 of these have been received to date and made available to the NHS for distribution across the country.
‘The rollout is continuing at pace, with the vaccine being offered to individuals at higher risk of coming into contact with monkeypox in order to offer them protection and to help contain the current outbreak.
‘The thousands of vaccines administered by the NHS to date among those at highest risk of exposure should have a significant impact on the transmission of the virus.”
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The ongoing outbreak of the viral disease was confirmed in May 2022, when cases were reported from countries where the virus is not endemic.
The initial cluster of cases was found in the UK, with the first infection identified in someone with travel links to Nigeria.
You risk catching the virus if you come into intimate contact with an infected individual, including skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sexual intercourse.
According to the World Health Organisation, “most reported cases so far have been identified through sexual health or other health services in primary or secondary health-care facilities and have involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men”.
Symptoms include a rash, which can initially look like pimples or blisters and goes through several stages before healing, fever, chills, headache, muscle ache and more.
This is a breaking story. More to follow.