People at highest risk of exposure to monkeypox will soon be able to book a free pre-exposure vaccine appointment to help protect against the virus.
The Halifax Sexual Health Centre will host the first clinic and expects to have vaccine available as soon as the week of September 19. More details on how and when people can book appointments will be available next week.
In creating the first targeted monkeypox vaccine program, the Province worked closely with the Halifax Sexual Health Centre and was guided by community and academic leaders and groups, including Sexual Health Nova Scotia, prideHealth, the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, and Community-Based Research Centre of Vancouver.
“I want to recognize the hard work of our community partners and staff at the Department of Health and Wellness and Nova Scotia Health to create Nova Scotia’s first monkeypox pre-exposure vaccine clinic,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “Their efforts are allowing us to offer protection to those at highest risk of contracting monkeypox based on what we know about the virus and how it is spread. This first clinic is a step in the right direction, and I’m pleased we’ll also be expanding access to the vaccine in other areas of the province to help protect those outside of HRM.”
The pre-exposure vaccination program will only be available to those who meet one of the following criteria:
1. Identify as a cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person who has sexual contact with a cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person and have at least one of the following:
- two or more sexual partners as defined above in the last three months, or is planning to
- a diagnosis of a bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the last three months
- attended, worked at, or volunteered at an event/social venue for sexual contact, such as a bath house or sex club, in the last three months, or is planning to
- had anonymous sex in the last three months, or is planning to
- engaged as a worker or a client in sex work, or is planning to.
2. Have sexual contact with someone who meets the above criteria.
Only residents of Nova Scotia or people living in the province for prolonged periods, such as post-secondary students or people here for work, who meet the eligibility criteria will be offered the vaccine.
The Province continues to work with the federal government to increase Nova Scotia’s supply of the monkeypox vaccine, called Imvamune. Work is underway to establish more pre-exposure vaccination programs in other areas of the province.
More information about monkeypox, including how it spreads and what symptoms to look for, can be found at: https://novascotia.ca/monkeypox/
I want to encourage people who are at highest risk to go get vaccinated. By ensuring those at greatest risk of being exposed to the virus have access to a vaccine before a potential exposure, it will help to protect against the virus, limit the spread and help reduce serious symptoms.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health
The Halifax Sexual Health Centre is excited to partner with the Department of Health and Wellness and Nova Scotia Health as a delivery site for mass Mpox pre-exposure immunization. As a 2SLGBTQ+ focused non-profit community clinic, we are thrilled that government has considered cultural competency in their vaccine delivery programming. Halifax Sexual Health Centre is proud to be a location that community members associate with confidentiality, safety and excellent care. We look forward to delivering this much-needed service.
Abbey Ferguson, Executive Director, Halifax Sexual Health Centre
- monkeypox spreads through close contact with an infected person, including sexual activity, direct contact with monkeypox sores (including scabs or sores that are healing), inhaling respiratory droplets (from coughs or sneezes) from an infected person, and contact with contaminated items like bedding or clothing
- monkeypox symptoms usually develop five to 21 days after exposure to the virus
- monkeypox typically presents initially with fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, back pain and exhaustion; symptoms can progress one to two days later and can include a rash or sores that usually start on the face, legs or arms and can affect other parts of the body (including hands, feet, mouth and genitals)