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Guy's Hospital
Photograph: Jess Hand

A walk-in vaccine centre has opened at Guy’s Hospital to tackle the monkeypox outbreak

More than 80 percent of the UK’s cases have been in London

Written by
Ellie Muir
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It’s beginning to feel like there’s a new virus to wrap our heads around every few months. Remember when everyone on Twitter became a self-proclaimed epidemiologist? Remember when our daily lives were dictated by stats? And we pretended to know what all those graphs on the telly actually meant? Yeah, the pandemic was a weird time for us all. But if it’s left you with a strange interest in infectious diseases and the vaccines that inevitably follow, then you might want to know about the latest virus to hit London: monkeypox.

Last week, the World Health Organisation declared the monkeypox outbreak a global emergency, as cases rise around the world. But fear not, there’s already a vaccination for it and Guy’s Hospital (right next to London Bridge station) has launched a walk-in vaccine centre for those eligible for the jab.

In addition to Guy’s, there are more than 18 clinics offering vaccinations across the capital, including Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Dean Street sexual health clinic in Soho, Mortimer Market Centre in Camden and Barking Hospital Outpatient Centre East. 

According to the UK Health Security Agency, there has been a total of 2,208 confirmed monkeypox cases across England so far, with more than 80 percent of the those in London. The NHS will be accelerating the rollout of the smallpox vaccine that is effective against monkeypox. So far, 130,000 doses of the vaccine have been ordered. 

Although monkeypox can affect anyone, the majority of those cases are among gay and bisexual men, who currently make up 98 percent of recorded cases in the UK and are being prioritised for the jab, according to the Terrance Higgins Trust.

The Trust say that it’s important that gay and bisexual men are alert to monkeypox as it’s believed to be transmitted through sexual networks, especially in London. Unlike the Covid jab, the roll-out is happening in sexual health clinics and services across the capital. The NHS advice says that your local NHS services will get in touch if you are eligible for the vaccine, but not everyone in the eligible group will be known and contacted, unless they attend a pop-up clinic.

Steve Russell, NHS director of vaccinations said: ‘While the risk of monkeypox remains very low and nearly every case we have seen so far has recovered quickly, over 2,000 people have been affected by the virus.

‘On the whole, the cases we are seeing are among gay and bisexual men or men who have sex with men, with a significant number coming from London and so it is vital that those who are most likely to get the virus get vaccinated as quickly as possible,’ he said.

But before you lock your doors and stockpile God-knows-what, check out details here for more information about getting jabbed. 

You can find more general information about monkeypox here.

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