Experts say remain vigilant as mass mpox vaccination clinic wraps up in Halifax

Click to play video: 'Global News Morning Halifax: May 3'
Global News Morning Halifax: May 3
The online edition of Global News Morning with Paul Brothers and Eilish Bonang on Global Halifax – May 3, 2023

Wednesday was the last day to attend a mass mpox immunization clinic in Nova Scotia’s capital city, but the Halifax Sexual Health Centre is still taking appointments for those who need it.

Although Nova Scotia has only had one confirmed mpox case, those at the clinic are still advising people who are at risk to get the shot.

Halifax Sexual Health Centre executive director Abbey Ferguson said the clinic is prepared to have more vaccines available as more appointments get booked. She said the centre has large refrigerators where they can be stored.

The Department of Health and Wellness and the Nova Scotia Health Authority have been working closely with HSHC and other clinics to aid with similar vaccination clinics.

“I think it really demonstrates that as a community clinic, we hold a lot of power and trust in the community and being able to deliver something like this,” Ferguson said. “I really appreciate the province giving us the opportunity to demonstrate that.”

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When the outbreak began last year, those in the LGBTQ2 were described as being the most at risk. But Dr. Jesse Kancir, the regional medical officer of health for the province’s eastern zone, wants people to understand that anyone can get infected.

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“Even though it is something that appears to be in that social network, anybody can get mpox,” he said. “So I think we really owe a lot of credit to the communities at risk who showed up for vaccination.”

Dr. Jesse Kancir has been leading the charge in combating the spread of mpox across Nova Scotia. Decklan Z. Rolle

He noted that while mpox is getting less attention than it did a few months ago, the disease is still considered to be a global public health emergency.

Mpox can spread through close contact with an infected person, including sexual activities, direct contact with mpox sores, breathing in respiratory droplets (coughing or sneezing) and contact with contaminated items. Items such as bedding and clothing are common contaminants.

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The first case of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, in Canada was discovered in May 2022 in B.C., while the first case in Nova Scotia was recorded on Aug. 23, 2022.

Even with low case numbers in Nova Scotia, Kancir is still urging the public to remain vigilant.

“We know that the biggest risk to Nova Scotians is travel outside of the province right now, and so someone should be vigilant if they are planning to be attending events, or interacting with communities where they think they might be exposed to mpox,” Kancir said.

To be eligible for your first dose, you must identify as a cisgender or transgender queer man, two-spirit person or non-binary person, or had sexual contact with a cisgender or transgender queer man, two-spirit or non-binary person.

If you or your sexual partner fit the following criteria, then you are eligible for your first dose:

  • two or more sexual partners in the last three months or planning on having
  • a diagnosis of a bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the last three months
  • attended, worked at, or volunteered at an event/social venue for sexual contact, such as a bath house or sex club, in the last three months, or are planning to
  • had anonymous sex in the last three months, or are planning to
  • engaged as a worker or client in sex work, or are planning to

As for a second dose, you would be able to receive it at least 28 days after your first dose.


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