People at high risk of catching monkeypox can start getting vaccinated on Oct. 5, health authorities announced on Wednesday.
Bookings will open on Oct. 3.
Hong Kong recorded its first monkeypox case earlier this month, a 30-year-old man returning from a trip to the Philippines.
The government consequently activated the alert level of its Preparedness and Response Plan for Monkeypox, reflecting a low immediate health threat to the local population.
While the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases under the Centre for Health Protection do not recommend mass monkeypox vaccinations, the committees updated their consensus interim recommendations on Sep. 15 to include a recommendation that the third-generation vaccine for post-exposure prophylaxis be administered to contacts of confirmed cases.
The vaccine acts as a treatment for disease prevention in those who have been exposed as well as protection for individuals at high risk of exposure.
The following high-risk groups will be allowed to receive monkeypox vaccination on a voluntary basis:
- Individuals with high-risk sexual practices, e.g. multiple sexual partners, sex workers and those with a history of sexually transmitted infection within the past 12 months
- Healthcare workers responsible for caring for patients with confirmed monkeypox;
- Laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses
- Animal care personnel with high risk of exposure in case of monkeypox occurrence in animals in Hong Kong
Vaccines will be provided at the Department of Health’s six social hygiene service clinics. Click here for the addresses of the clinics.
Vaccines will also be provided to clients at the Department of Health’s Integrated Treatment Centre in Kowloon Bay and the Hospital Authority’s special medical clinics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital.
For healthcare workers and laboratory personnel, authorities will provide vaccinations for their respective staff at high risk of exposure earlier, starting Sep. 26, at Hospital Authority staff clinics and selected Department of Health clinics respectively.
For other high-risk target groups, the Department of Health has also set up two designated centers, which are situated at 3/F, Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club Polyclinic, 145 Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei (operates Monday to Sunday, 9am to 8pm), and 7/F, Tang Chi Ngong Specialist Clinic, 284 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai (operates Monday to Friday, except public holidays, 5:30pm to 8pm).
Individuals in high-risk target groups can make a booking by email (email@example.com) or by phone (2547 1900).
According to the recommendations of the committees, a two-dose regime is required, although those who have received a smallpox vaccine will only need one dose.