The snake most at risk for monkey pox will be offered a second dose of the vaccine as cases continue to fall, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.
Sexual health clinics will continue to prioritize offering first doses to those at highest risk.
Some clinics will offer eligible people a second dose, which the UKHSA says should provide longer-term protection.
Modeling published on Friday suggests that vaccinating 25% of the groups most at risk could significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
By prioritizing second dose vaccine stock for those at highest risk whenever possible, we can maximize protection and interrupt transmission
dr. Gayatri Amirthalingam, deputy director of public health programs at the UKHSA, said: “It is encouraging that we are seeing fewer and fewer cases of monkeypox in the UK and we are grateful to everyone who has followed advice on possible symptoms isolated as part of this outbreak or sign up for a vaccination to help limit transmission.
“By prioritizing second-dose vaccine stock for those at highest risk whenever possible, we can maximize protection and interrupt transmission. If you are called up for vaccination, take up the offer.”
The Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI) approved the UKHSA’s proposal to offer second doses to those at highest risk.
There are currently no plans to expand vaccination coverage beyond the existing priority cohorts, but the decision will be reviewed.
Those who qualify for vaccination are called by the NHS.
Second doses are offered from about two or three months after the first dose.
As of September 20, more than 45,000 people received a dose of the vaccine, including more than 40,000 gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men most at risk of exposure.
After a decline in August, the number of monkey pox cases in the UK has continued to fall.
In mid-July, there was a peak of 60 cases per day.
In early September, there were an average of less than 15 cases per day.
As of September 16, there were 3,585 confirmed and highly probable cases of monkey pox in the UK.
Analysis of broader infection trends suggests that behavioral changes in the groups most at risk may have contributed to the lower rates of disease.
The UKHSA also confirmed the delivery of 20,000 additional vaccine doses from Bavarian Nordic, the sole global supplier of the vaccine used in response to the current monkeypox outbreak in the UK.
The vaccine doses are available for NHS services to order and are now being distributed, with a further 80,000 doses expected later this month.
Everyone at the highest risk will have access to two doses of the vaccine in the coming months.