monkeypox vaccine toronto

Here's how to get a monkeypox vaccine in Toronto

Monkeypox has become the latest health concern for the public to worry about, fresh off a much-welcome lull in our collective COVID nightmare, with at least 168 cases of the virus now confirmed in Canada, 30 of them in Ontario plus another three probable and 18 suspected infections.

With the first Toronto patient diagnosed nearly a month ago now, the city is hosting a spate of vaccine clinics as a result, with a focus on the demographic that has been most vulnerable to its spread.

Over the coming weeks, select adults can get a Health Canada-approved Imvamune vaccine, which contains an attenuated form of the virus (like most vaccines we receive, but unlike the mRNA COVID jab).

Only those who have been exposed to a case or are more at-risk of contracting it can receive the shot, the latter category including male-identifying residents who fit any of the following: sex workers; those who have attended a sex club, bath house, or have had "anonymous/casual sex" or two or more sexual partners in general in the past 21 days; and/or those who have had a bacterial STI in the last two months.

Bath house workers in the city were also offered initial doses.

These criteria are based on the fact that the zoonotic disease has only affected men in the province so far (most of them 30-49 years of age), and has been passed around largely through intimate contact.

Toronto Public Health already held pop-up clinics this past weekend, with future ones to be located at:

  • Metro Hall at 214 Wellington St. W.— 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 26, and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 20-24
  • AIDS Committee of Toronto at 543 Yonge St. — 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 21
  • Cloverdale Mall at 250 The East Mall— 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 21-24 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 25
  • 1940 Eglinton Ave. E. — 2 8 p.m. on June 21-24 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 25

Imvamune is a two-dose regimen, with the second coming 28 days after the first.

Though less contagious than COVID, monkeypox can also be spread through respiratory droplets and other bodily fluids, and also from contact with the sores that are its characterizing feature.

Thankfully, it would require prolonged face-to-face contact with a patient to be seriously at risk, and the longest chain of transmission ever recorded was through six people, though it can be fatal in up to 10 per cent of those who get it. 

As the City notes on its page dedicated to the illness, most people recover from Monkeypox on their own without any medical intervention in a few weeks.

Symptoms include the standard flu-like complaints such as fever and chills, headache and myalgia, swollen lymph nodes, feelinsg of extreme tiredness and skin lesions that appear like a rash on the face, genitals and/or extremities.

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed should isolate and monitor for symptoms for 21 days, and contact their healthcare provider if any appear.

Lead photo by

Mat Napo

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