New Brunswick has expanded the availability of the monkeypox vaccine to some LGBTQ+ adults, pre-exposure.
"Public Health is encouraging the folCategorizationlowing group to get a vaccine: cisgender, transgender or two-spirit individuals who are 18 years of age and older and who also self-identify as belonging to the gay, bisexual or men-who-have-sex-with-men community and who are or plan to become sexually active with more than one partner," according to a news release issued Friday.
Until now, New Brunswick has limited the vaccine to close contacts of confirmed cases.
But more vaccines are now available, said Department of Health spokesperson Adam Bowie. The province recently received a shipment of 2,000 doses of Imvamune, he said in an email.
Vaccines for pre-exposure prevention are available by appointment at select regional health authority clinics, according to the news release.
"We encourage anyone in the identified group to book an appointment," Dr. Arifur Rahman, acting deputy chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.
People can book an appointment outside of their health zone, and without using their name, the release says.
"The Department of Health has forecasted the expected needs of each health zone, but vaccines will be delivered to each one based on the number of vaccine appointments filled," said Bowie.
"Public Health offices in each zone will be able to order the necessary amounts to ensure that every eligible individual that books an appointment will receive a vaccine, if they want one."
A second dose is recommended after 28 days for those who are immunocompromised, the news release advises.
"The criteria may change as the situation evolves."
To date, New Brunswick has had only one confirmed case of monkeypox, announced Aug. 12.
Across Canada, there have been 1,363 confirmed cases, as of Friday, including 656 in Ontario, 515 in Quebec, 150 in British Columbia, 34 in Alberta, three in Saskatchewan, two in the Yukon, one in Manitoba and one in Nova Scotia.
A total of 38 people have been hospitalized.
The majority of confirmed cases in Canada with available information on exposure history have been men who reported intimate sexual contact with other men. But anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, can get infected and spread the virus if they come into close contact with an infected person or contaminated objects, health officials have said.
The virus can spread when a person comes in contact with the virus from an infected person, infected animal, or materials that have touched body fluids or sores, such as clothing or linens. The virus may also be transmitted during pregnancy to the fetus through the placenta.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, monkeypox is usually a mild illness and most people recover on their own after a few weeks. But some people can become very sick and even die.