Falkirk health: Monkeypox vaccine now being offered by NHS Forth Valley

People deemed to be at ‘high risk’ of developing monkeypox are to be offered a vaccine to protect against the disease, NHS Forth Valley has confirmed.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:14 pm

Public Health Scotland (PHS) stresses that at the moment the risk to the general population from the rare viral infection is low.

The majority of cases are adults known to be gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) and report recent European travel within 21 days of symptom onset.

Worryingly there has as yet been no single factor or exposure that links the cases identified, a decision which prompted the World Health Organisation to declare the outbreak a global health emergency.

The monkeypox virus shown on a patient's hand

Figures published on July 25 show there have been 59 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox reported in Scotland since May 23.

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However, as yet there is no breakdown of where the cases are in Scotland, due to the relatively small number of cases.

As there is currently a limited supply of the vaccine it is being offered to those at highest risk first. The pre-exposure vaccine will only be offered to some gay and bisexual men who are at higher risk of exposure, including those who have multiple partners, take part in group sex, attend sex on premises venues, or have had a bacterial STI in the past year, for example chlamydia, gonorrhoea or syphilis.

Scotland’s sexual health services have started contacting people at highest risk to offer vaccination and they will continue to invite eligible groups over the next few months.

Anyone eligible who is not already in contact with local sexual health services will be asked to make an appointment to attend a local clinic for review.

The vaccine will also be offered to close contacts of any confirmed cases through contact tracing and a small number of healthcare workers who work in high-risk settings.

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said that arrangements for delivering the new vaccine will be reviewed on a regular basis as additional vaccine supplies become available.

NHS Forth Valley was criticised for being slower than other health boards to offer the vaccine.


One 28-year-old man from Falkirk said he had contacted sexual health services and his GP earlier this week and was frustrated that they were unable to advise him on how to get vaccinated.

He said: “They’ve known since last week that ‘at risk’ groups could start being vaccinated, so why like NHS Ayrshire and Arron and Greater Glasgow and Clyde did they not get the ball rolling instantly and start contacting those groups last week?”

However, NHS Forth Valley said it has closely followed the national guidance for the vaccination, which has only recently been made available.

Patient information leaflets are now available on NHS Inform and the Public Health Scotland website.