Immunization against Monkeypox is now available to eligible NWT residents.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends the Imvamune vaccine be offered to people who may have, or have had, high-risk exposures to the rare, viral disease.
Imvamune is approved by Health Canada for immunization against smallpox, as well as Monkeypox and other related diseases in adults 18 years of age and older. It is not a treatment for Monkeypox. The vaccine is used to protect against infection and disease.
Monkeypox can be transmitted from infected animals to humans, or spread human-to-human, usually by skin-to-skin contact with lesions, blisters, or rashes that develop from the disease. A mother can pass the virus to her baby via the placenta or during childbirth, causing congenital Monkeypox. The virus also can spread through prolonged contact with objects or fabrics such as clothing, bedding, or towels that have been used by someone with Monkeypox.
Flu-like symptoms typically appear from 5-21 days after exposure along with a skin rash that may be present anywhere on the body. In the current outbreak, rash has been most commonly found around the mouth, genital or anorectal (bum) areas. In most cases the symptoms of Monkeypox go away on their own within a few weeks, however complications can develop.
Recent global outbreaks are among people who identify as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, however, anyone can be exposed during close contact with a positive case. In the current outbreak in Canada, intimate sexual contact is the primary mode of spread..
To date there have been no identified cases of Monkeypox in the NWT. Vaccination is being offered in both pre-exposure and post-exposure situations where high risk exposures have occurred. The vaccine is in limited supply worldwide including in Canada. National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and the Government of the Northwest Territories is recommending two doses of Imvamune 28 days apart as pre-exposure vaccination for eligible residents to reduce the risk of Monkeypox transmission.
People who have a known exposure or close contact with someone who has Monkeypox should get vaccinated, ideally within four days, but can be given the vaccine up to 14 days later. Those exposed, who have ongoing risk factors for further transmission should also receive a second dose of monkeypox vaccine 28 days after the first dose. A healthcare provider will discuss your risk with you.