A health-care worker prepares monkeypox vaccine. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

A health-care worker prepares monkeypox vaccine. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

UPDATE: Island Health opening more monkeypox vaccine appointments Friday

Island Health asking residents to check back as more vaccine supply is received

More appointments on the Island for the monkeypox vaccine will open Friday afternoon.

As of Friday morning (Aug. 5), the three clinics – Courtenay, Nanaimo and Victoria – offering appointments in Island Health’s booking portal were full. But in a statement, Island Health said more appointments would be opening Friday afternoon as another shipment of the vaccine is expected next week.

“The risk to the public remains very low and vaccination of high-risk individuals remains the most effective tool to mitigate the risk of transmission,” noted the health authority in the statement.

Island Health has received 900 doses of the monkeypox vaccine and expects almost all of those to be administered by the end of day Friday, with a small amount reserved for post-exposure prophylaxis (the people identified through contract tracing who are at a higher risk of infection).

Island Health noted additional appointment times would be added as vaccine supply is received and asked residents to check back. The vaccination clinics are not accepting drop-ins.

As of Aug. 4, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control had confirmed six cases in Island Health, six in Fraser Health and 69 in Vancouver Coast Health for a total of 81 cases in B.C.

Of the six cases in Island Health, the health authority noted the majority are on the south Island.

“Island Health is launching a targeted vaccination campaign for those currently at highest risk of acquiring and spreading monkeypox,” the health authority said on its website.

All who qualify are encouraged to book an appointment and the B.C. Medical Services Plan is not required. The vaccine is not available to the general public at this time.

Since May, cases of monkeypox have been reported in many countries, including Canada, where the virus doesn’t normally spread.

According to the BCCDC, symptoms can occur in two stages with fever, chills, intense headache, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, exhaustion, and muscle and back pain in the first. The second stage can consist of sores and blisters in the hands, feet, arms, legs, mouth or genitals, lasting two to three weeks.

To book an appointment, go to waitwhile.com/welcome/mpclinics.

READ MORE: Island Health offering monkeypox vaccines to those who are most at risk

READ MORE: B.C. releases details of monkeypox vaccine availability as outbreak spreads globally


 

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