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Appointments available for monkeypox vaccine Friday in Victoria

Island Health said Friday it had received 900 doses of monkeypox vaccine, which it expected would mostly be administered by the end of the day.
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Jonathan Parducho, a pharmacist, removes a tray of vials of of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox from a box containing 20 doses, in the vaccine hub at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, July 29, 2022, in San Francisco. (Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

If you’re at risk for the monkeypox virus and looking to book a vaccination appointment, Island Health said appointments are available in Victoria today, with additional times next week as more vaccines become available. 

Island Health said in a statement Friday it had received 900 doses of monkeypox vaccine and it expected almost all of it would be administered by end of the day today, with a small amount reserved for post-exposure prophylaxis, or the people identified through contact tracing who are at a higher risk of infection. 

“We will be opening up more bookings [Friday] as we will be receiving another shipment next week,” said Island Health. “If no appointments are currently available in your region, please check back later.” 

Appointments can be booked through Island Health’s website at clinics in Victoria, Nanaimo and Courtenay. 

The number of reported monkeypox cases on Vancouver Island has increased to six — up from four reported last Friday. 

The viral illness — which ­produces flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and skin sores and ­blisters — was first confirmed on the Island on July 8. 

Island Health has started contact tracing. 

The risk to the public remains low and ­vaccination of high-risk ­individuals remains the most effective tool to mitigate the risk of transmission, the health authority said.

It started a ­targeted vaccination campaign three weeks ago for those at highest risk of acquiring and spreading monkeypox: men 18 and older who have sex with other men, though the virus is not specifically transmitted by sex. 

Late last week, Island Health had administered about 500 doses of vaccine. 

Health Canada maintains a limited stockpile of the smallpox vaccine Imvamune, which is effective against monkeypox. 

On Wednesday, the ­Public Health Agency of Canada reported 890 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Canada, including 78 in British Columbia. 

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control said 66 cases are on the Lower Mainland. 

Ontario has 423 cases and Quebec 373, followed by 13 in Alberta, two in Saskatchewan and one in the Yukon.