Second doses of the monkeypox vaccine are now available for people in Nova Scotia who are at highest risk of exposure, including members of the LGBTQ community.
The Halifax Sexual Health Centre will offer free first and second doses of monkeypox vaccine until at least Nov. 10, the province said in a news release Friday.
Those who are eligible can book an appointment for a second dose of Imvamune to help protect against infection.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends monkeypox vaccine to be used as a preventative, two-dose vaccine for those at risk of exposure, 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," Dr. Jesse Kancir, medical officer of health responsible for monkeypox, said in the release.
Monkeypox spreads through close, prolonged contact and can impact anyone, but many infections have involved men who have sex with men.
Vaccine eligibility requirements
Only Nova Scotia residents or people living in the province for prolonged periods, including post-secondary students, are eligible for the vaccine program. They must also meet one of the following criteria:
A cisgender or transgender queer man, 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 has at least one of the following:
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.
Have sexual contact with someone who meets the above criteria.
Those who meet the eligibility criteria can book an appointment through the online booking portal.
Eligible people who do not have a Nova Scotia health card or need help booking an appointment can call the Halifax Health Centre at 902-455-9656, ext. 0.
A second clinic is set to open in Sydney the week of Nov. 7.
More information about that clinic will be released next week.
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