People most at risk of contracting monkeypox will be offered second doses of the vaccine, the UK Health Security Agency has said.
Sexual health clinics will continue to prioritise offering first doses to those at highest risk. The UKHSA said some clinics will offer eligible people a second dose, which should provide longer-term protection.
Modelling published on Friday suggests vaccinating 25% of the groups most at risk could significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
It comes as cases of the infection continue to fall. In early September there were fewer than 15 cases a day on average.
Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, deputy director of public health programmes at the UKHSA, said: “It’s encouraging that we’re continuing to see fewer cases of monkeypox reported in the UK and we are grateful to everyone who has followed advice about potential symptoms, isolated as part of this outbreak or come forward for a vaccination to help limit transmission.
“Prioritising vaccine stock where possible for second doses for those at highest risk will help us maximise protection and interrupt transmission. When you are called forward for vaccination, please take up the offer.”
Symptoms of the infection include a high temperature, a headache, muscle aches and swollen glands.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation endorsed the UKHSA’s proposal to offer second doses to those at highest risk. There are no current plans to widen the offer of vaccination beyond the existing priority cohorts, but the decision will be kept under review.
Those that are eligible for vaccination will be contacted by the NHS. Second doses will be offered from around two or three months after the first dose.
As of 20 September, more than 45,000 people have received a dose of the vaccine, including over 40,000 gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who are at highest risk of exposure. As of 16 September, there were 3,585 confirmed and highly probable cases of monkeypox in the UK.