Starting today, Albertans 18 and older who self-identify as meeting the eligibility criteria for targeted prevention prior to exposure can get the monkeypox vaccine.

The vaccine, Imvamune (smallpox and monkeypox vaccine) has been authorized in Canada for adults who are 18 years and older and who are determined to be at high risk for exposure to the virus.

According to the province, Alberta has been providing Imvamune to close contacts of a confirmed monkeypox case after exposure since June 7. To help curb the spread of the virus, Alberta is expanding the monkeypox vaccine eligibility to include targeted prevention prior to exposure for Albertans who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox.

Health Minister Jason Copping said that with the elevated risk of contracting the monkeypox virus in some segments of the population, every effort should be made to prevent it from spreading, including getting vaccinated if eligible. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health for the province also recommended that those eligible for the monkeypox vaccine should consider getting a dose.

“Although anyone can catch the monkeypox virus through close physical contact, during the current outbreak, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men have been impacted the most, especially those with new or multiple sexual partners. "

The vaccine supply is limited at this time and will be made available to eligible individuals, starting in Edmonton and Calgary where all confirmed cases to date have been located. As more vaccine becomes available over the coming weeks, vaccine availability will expand to other centres across Alberta.

Appointments for monkeypox immunizations can be booked, with vaccine administration beginning on July 29.

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