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Vaccination against monkeypox

26 september 2022

The Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD Amsterdam) vaccinates risk groups preventively against monkeypox in order to limit the outbreak of the disease. A limited number of vaccins is available, so only specific groups will receive an invitation against monkeypox.

After a monkeypox infection you are fully protected. In that case, there is no need to get a vaccination. If you think you have monkeypox symptoms, please contact your GP for a test appointment at GGD Amsterdam.

Start vaccination

The selection criteria to determine who qualifies for the vaccine were formulated by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. The GGD will use its own database to send invitations to those known to them. This will ensure that those who run the greatest risk of infection will be contacted. These are men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans people who:

  1. Use PrEP through the Center for Sexual Health or are on the waiting list for PrEP.

  2. Are using PrEP through their primary care physician.

  3. Are living with HIV and have an increased risk of STIs. This is determined by their HIV treatment provider.

  4. Are known to the Centre for Sexual Health as being at increased risk of contracting an STI, including sex workers.

Everyone eligible for vaccination will automatically receive a personal invitation from the GGD Amsterdam. It is currently not possible to put yourself forward for vaccination, either with your family doctor or the GGD.

The vaccine

The vaccination uses Imvanex (PDF, 48 kB). Imvanex is registered in Europe as a vaccine against smallpox for adults. Since July 22, 2022, Imvanex is also registered in Europe against monkeypox.  We know that Imvanex is safe to use, including for people living with HIV. We do not yet know exactly how effective an Imvanex vaccination is at conferring protection in practice. The injections do not leave a scar.

Safety and protection

Imvanex is safe, also for people with HIV. The vaccine does not immediately provide good protection after the first injection. The peak of protective antibodies is 2 weeks after the 2nd vaccination. This is about 6 weeks after the first injection. In people who only need one vaccination from the GGD, the peak of protective antibodies is two weeks after the injection. It is not yet known how well and for how long people are protected after vaccination.

Therefore it is possible that you will still get monkeypox after the vaccination. That is why the advice remains not to have sexual contact with someone who has symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated. Do you have symptoms after the vaccination that are consistent with monkeypox? Then stay at home and contact your doctor.

One or two injections?

If you were born in the Netherlands before 1975 and received a smallpox vaccination in the past, then just one injection will be needed. If you were born after this date, you will need two injections.

More information