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Monkeypox vaccination clinics starting up in Owen Sound

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The Grey Bruce Health Unit will hold clinics to vaccinate people against monkeypox beginning on Friday.

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Eligible individuals are now able to sign up for the by-appointment clinics, set to be held on Friday and again Wednesday at the Grey Bruce Health Unit in Owen Sound. Clinics will then take place biweekly on Wednesdays until further notice, the health unit said in a news release.

While the risk of acquiring monkeypox in Grey-Bruce remains very low, the health unit is closely monitoring the multi-country outbreak of the virus, and employing efforts like the clinics to help prevent it’s spread, the release said.

“Imvamune, a Health Canada-approved, third-generation vaccine, is a safe and highly effective way to protect people from monkeypox,” Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra said in the release. “Public Health is pleased to be holding clinics to ensure this vaccine is available and accessible to all eligible, high-risk individuals in Grey-Bruce.”

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Vaccination appointments are required and can be made by calling the health unit at 519-376-9420. Those seeking to be vaccinated must meet an eligibility criteria as per Ministry of Health guidelines and due to a limited supply of the vaccine. Eligibility information is available at https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Your-Health/Infectious-Diseases/Monkeypox

The local health unit confirmed its first case of the virus in early July. The person resided in Grey-Bruce but most likely acquired the virus while visiting the GTA, the health unit said at the time.

The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern after it was confirmed in dozens of countries, including Canada, during the current outbreak. As of Aug. 5, Canada had reported 957 cases, nearly half of them in Ontario.

The virus causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and tiredness, usually followed by a rash and blisters on the skin. It is usually spread by very close contact with someone who has the virus.

While anyone can get monkeypox, during the current outbreak, gay, bisexual and other men who have had sex with men have been impacted the most, according to the health unit website. More details about the virus is available at publichealthgreybruce.on.ca

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