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Two doses of mpox vaccination recommended in response to new outbreak

Dr Daniel Vujcich, CEO of WAAC, provides an update on the latest advice in relation to Mpox, as an increasing number of new cases are reported in Australia.


Australia is currently experiencing a new outbreak of mpox (formerly monkeypox). Mpox belongs to the same family of diseases as chickenpox and smallpox and is primarily spread through close physical contact, including during sexual activities.

It can present as flu-like symptoms that can be followed by the appearance of sores, rash, bumps, or pimples on the body. The virus can lead to serious complications in immunocompromised people.

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Mpox first hit the headlines following a global outbreak in 2022, which included 144 Australian cases.

The outbreak was successfully contained through community-led responses, including education and vaccination campaigns. Last year, only 26 cases were notified in Australia.

However, since April this year, over 90 mpox cases have been reported nationally. The outbreaks have predominantly been in Victoria (59 cases) and Queensland (15 cases), but cases have also been reported in New South Wales, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory. To date, no cases have been reported in Western Australia.*

The current Australian outbreak has mainly affected gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men aged 25 to 44 years of age. While the 2022 outbreak was linked to recently returned international travellers, most cases notified this year have been locally acquired in Australia.

Mpox is preventable. WAAC and the Western Australian Department of Health Communicable Disease Control Directorate are encouraging sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men to get vaccinated against mpox.  

Western Australia currently has a good supply of mpox vaccines. Vaccines are available through general practitioners and sexual health clinics, such as the M Clinic in West Perth, South Terrace Clinic in Fremantle, and Sexual Health Quarters in Northbridge. WAAC also offers mpox vaccinations as part of its Thursday night clinic at Perth Steam Works.

For optimal coverage, two doses of the vaccine are recommended.

Mpox vaccinations are now administered subcutaneously, similar to COVID or flu vaccinations, and are unlikely to leave a mark on the skin.

According to WAAC’s Manager of Clinical and Therapeutic Services, Sharmila Radha Krishnan, “Western Australia avoided a large outbreak of mpox in 2022 because the community stepped up to educate themselves and get vaccinated. With a new outbreak on the eastern seaboard, we are again asking sexually active men who have sex with men to take control of their health and stay ahead of the curve. If you haven’t had two doses of the mpox vaccine, make an appointment today.”

*Numbers correct at time of writing (2 July 2024).

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