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Monkeypox vaccinations: few people turn up amid concern about strict conditions

“The conditions people have to meet are possibly too strict” says Flemish health minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat) after only 60 men made an appointment to receive the monkeypox vaccine at the Antwerp Expo vaccination centre today.  Over 1,000 doses of the vaccine were available.

The Antwerp vaccination centre today launched a pilot to vaccinate people against monkeypox as a precaution.  Only men who have sex with men qualify and you need a letter from your GP stating that you had an STI during the past year.

“We’ve noticed that the requirement to produce a letter from your GP stating you have had an STI sets the barrier too high” says Ms Crevits.  “We want to lower the threshold and with experts will examine forthwith whether the criteria can be expanded”.

The experts will consider new criteria tonight. The low turnout means other opportunities will be created to administer the vaccine, but it’s not yet clear where and when that will be says the minister.

LGBT organisations earlier voiced concern about the low number of doses that Belgium was getting. 

“There’s a European allocation key.  The federal government agreed the numbers.  1,120 doses of the vaccine have been made available in Flanders and we wish to use them as efficiently as possible” says the health minister.

394 people have come down with monkeypox in Belgium during the present outbreak.

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