Monkeypox vaccines to be given in Wales to tackle 'public health emergency'
Monkeypox vaccines will be given in Wales, the Welsh Government has confirmed.
It comes as countries across the world try to tackle the virus, which was recently declared a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern' by the World Health Organisation.
In Wales, vaccines will be given to those most vulnerable to the virus. They include gay and bisexual men - those typically at highest risk of catching it - and people working in sexual health services.
Due to the shortage of vaccines, a reduced dose will be given in Wales, enabling more people to be protected.
People will be given a dose five times smaller than if there were plenty of vaccines, with clinical trials showing the reduction has only minimal effects on the body's immune response.
This will "significantly increase the number of eligible individuals able to access the vaccine in Wales", according to the Welsh Government.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: "Given the global supply constraints on the availability of monkeypox vaccine and following advice given by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), we are announcing the adoption of a fractional dosing approach to vaccinating those most at risk of contracting monkeypox."
According to the World Health Organisation, monkeypox generally leads to only mild illness, but proves fatal in between 3-6% of cases.
The UK Government said: "The outbreak has mainly been in gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men without documented history of travel to endemic countries."
As of Tuesday (August 23) 44 cases had been confirmed in Wales, with more than 3,300 across the whole of the UK in total.