France to launch pilot vaccination scheme against monkeypox

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REUTERS - ERIC GAILLARD

Four French pharmacies will be authorised to vaccinate against monkeypox from Wednesday, according to the office of Health Minister François Braun.

From this Wednesday, 8 August, a pilot scheme for pharmacies to administer vacccinations against monkeypox will be lauched in the cities of Lille, Paris, Marseille and Fréjus.

The success of the opening of vaccinations to pharmacies will be assessed after a two-week period, ahead of a potential expansion of the scheme.

The four pharmacies are located near hospitals, which are able to store the vaccines at -80°C, with the injections being offered to people most at risk – homosexuals with several partners and sex workers – who cannot always find an appointment slot in the hundred or so centres already open.

Since 4 August, more than 2,400 cases of monkeypox had been reported in France.

As of the same date, only 18,500 of the 250,000 eligible people had been vaccinated in the 153 vaccination centres across the country.

WHO estimates 27,000 cases in 88 countries

Monkeypox has been endemic for decades in central and western Africa, but an unusual spike in cases has been reported across Europe and north America since May.

Several deaths have been recorded in Africa and two have been reported in Spain.

Usually transmitted to humans through contact with wild animals, the virus responsible for this zoonosis can also be transmitted by direct contact with skin lesions or mucous membranes of a sick person, especially during sexual intercourse, but also through contact with bedding, clothing, dishes and bath towels.

According to a projection by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the cumulative number of infections was expected to exceed 27,000 on Tuesday in a total of 88 countries analysed.