First monkeypox vaccines in Malta, to be offered to primary contacts for free

30 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Malta so far, according to the latest ECDC data

The first monkeypox vaccines have arrived in Malta and will be offered free of charge to primary contacts of confirmed cases, Health Minister Chris Fearne has announced.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Fearne said the vaccines were obtained as part of the EU Joint Procurement Mechanism.

Malta’s first monkeypox case had been registered on 28 May 2022 and the total number of cases currently stands at 30, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak.

Monkeypox is a viral infection, found typically in animals in central and western Africa, which could also cause outbreaks in humans. Although cases are occasionally identified in countries where the virus is not endemic, the latest outbreak has been unprecedented.

Symptoms include fever, chills, headache swollen glands, muscle aches, back pain and low energy. This is typically followed by a rash, that breaks out within one to three days.

The WHO said that the outbreak was dominant amongst men who had sexual relationships with men who had recently had sex with new or multiple partners. Experts have however stated that anyone can get monkeypox, as it is spread by close or intimate contact.