Second Dose Monkeypox Vaccine Now Available
Starting today, October 28, people who are at highest risk of being exposed to the monkeypox virus can book an appointment for a second dose of Imvamune vaccine to help protect against infection before they are exposed.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that Imvamune be used as a preventive, two-dose vaccine for those at highest risk, with doses separated by at least 28 days.
“We are following NACI’s recommendations by expanding the eligibility of the vaccine and offering second doses to those at highest risk,” said Dr. Jesse Kancir, medical officer of health responsible for monkeypox. “While second dose appointments are now available, I want to remind people who are eligible that it is not too late to get your first dose. Getting vaccinated can help protect against a potential monkeypox infection.”
The Halifax Sexual Health Centre will offer free first and second doses of monkeypox vaccine until at least Thursday, November 10.
A clinic will also open in Sydney the week of November 7, with more information released next week. Work is underway to establish clinics in other areas of the province.
The pre-exposure vaccination program is only available to people who:
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 meets at least one of the following criteria:
- two or more sexual partners since May as defined above, or is planning to
- a diagnosis of a bacterial sexually transmitted infection since May
- attended, worked at, or volunteered at an event/social venue for sexual contact, such as a bath house or sex club, since May, or is planning to
- had anonymous sex since May, or is planning to
- engaged as a worker or a client in sex work since May, 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.
People who meet the eligibility criteria can book an appointment at: https://novascotia.flow.canimmunize.ca/en/monkeypox-booking
Anyone who needs help booking an appointment or does not have a Nova Scotia health card can call the Halifax Sexual Health Centre at 902-455-9656, ext 0.
- monkeypox spreads through close contact with an infected person, including contact during 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 may 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)
- the Province worked closely with the Halifax Sexual Health Centre on developing Nova Scotia’s preventative monkeypox vaccination program and was guided by community and academic leaders and groups, including Sexual Health Nova Scotia, prideHealth, the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, and the Community-Based Research Centre of Vancouver
Government of Canada monkeypox resource page: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/monkeypox.html
More information about monkeypox, including how it spreads and what symptoms to look for: https://novascotia.ca/monkeypox/