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Monkeypox cases spread across UK regions as vaccination campaign falters

Experts have warned that the monkeypox campaign is faltering.  Pictured is a man who is being vaccinated against this disease today in Lille, France

Monkeypox cases are spreading to all regions of the UK as vaccination campaign against the disease falters, experts warn

  • After first arriving in the UK in March, cases have spread across the country
  • Experts say a successful vaccination campaign is needed to stop the disease
  • However, there are concerns about a lack of strikes as supplies are slow to arrive

Cases of monkeypox are now spreading to all regions of the country as the vaccination campaign against the virus falters, experts have warned.

When the virus – which causes painful blisters all over the body – first arrived in the UK in May, the vast majority of infections were reported in London.

Regional cases accounted for only a fifth of the total last month. But more than 2,800 cases have now been confirmed, with more than a third in regions outside London, according to government figures.

Particularly high numbers were seen in the southeast, where more than 230 cases were recorded, and in the northwest, with 150.

Monkeypox currently infects mainly gay men and is spread through close contact, but the updated figures come after sexual health experts warn that huge demand for the vaccine on offer means men at risk are scrambling to get it.

A long-term smallpox vaccine was deployed to inoculate against monkeypox because of the high level of viral similarity. And scientists say a successful vaccination campaign is crucial because the virus can be deadly if it reaches children or pregnant women.

Last week, the US – which has recorded more than 6,600 cases of monkeypox and declared it a public health emergency – reported that five children and one pregnant woman had contracted the virus.

None of the cases were life-threatening, but reports indicate that at least ten adults worldwide have died after contracting the disease.

The Mail on Sunday was the first to report last month about doctors’ concerns about a lack of monkeypox vaccines.

Insiders told this newspaper that at least 200,000 doses would be needed, but only 30,000 jabs were available.

A week later, health chiefs announced they had bought a further 100,000. But London doctors say supplies are slow to arrive.

“Most London clinics are running out of vaccines every day and are desperate to work with what little they have,” says Dr John McSorley, a consultant sexual health specialist at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

“Essentially, clinics operate like low-cost airlines – overbooking patients for injections they don’t have, hoping they’ll have enough that day.”

Dr. McSorley, former president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said the spread of monkeypox to other areas of the country was a direct result of this slow rollout.

“These rising numbers across the country are the result of government inaction.

“We need to avoid this disease while we still have a chance, and the way to do that is to vaccinate faster.”

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