Four Italian regions to offer vaccinations against monkeypox.
Italy's vaccination campaign against monkeypox got underway on Monday with the first vaccines administered at Rome's Spallanzani hospital for infectious diseases.
The vaccination drive in Rome will see the Italian health ministry make 1,200 vaccine doses available in the Lazio region, out of a nationwide total of 4,200 jabs, reports state broadcaster Rai News.
The vaccination campaign will subsequently be extended to the three other Italian regions with the highest number of monkeypox cases: Emilia Romagna (Bologna), Lombardia (Milan) and Veneto (Venice), all in northern Italy.
The "high risk" categories of people who will initially be offered the vaccine, according to Italy's health ministry, include gay, bisexual men and transgender people who have sex with men, have recently had sex with multiple partners, recently had a sexually transmitted infection or use chemical drugs when having sex.
"It is true that there have been just over 500 cases in Italy and therefore it is a modest epidemic" - Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious diseases at Rome's Tor Vergata University, told Italian news agency ANSA - "however it is also true that by now this disease has been spreading for several weeks and does not seem to slow down; therefore a intervention is appropriate to prevent it from spreading further."
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to smallpox, with similar but milder symptoms, and it is rarely fatal. Last month the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a "public health emergency of international concern".
For information about the vaccination drive see Italy's health ministry website. To book a vaccination against monkeypox at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Italy starts monkeypox vaccination campaign
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