GHA Launches Pre-Exposure Vaccine Programme To Those At Risk Of Contact With Monkeypox

The GHA, in response to the ongoing global monkeypox outbreak, has secured further supplies of the smallpox vaccine, which to date has been offered in Gibraltar to close contacts of diagnosed cases of monkeypox as a post-exposure treatment. 

A statement from the GHA follows below:

The GHA is pleased to now be in a position to launch a pre-exposure vaccination programme. This will be delivered via the well person clinic at  the PCC and patient confidentiality will be preserved at all times.  

Although there is no specific monkeypox vaccine, it is estimated that the smallpox vaccine is  around 85% effective at preventing infection. A smallpox vaccine will therefore be offered to  those who may be at higher risk of coming into contact with monkeypox, including men who have  sex with men, and healthcare workers who have been identified at being of higher risk because of  their roles.  

To register interest and book an appointment to receive the pre-exposure vaccine please either  telephone 22258707 and select option 1 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. providing your name,  date of birth, GHA number and a telephone number. The GHA guarantees that this information  will be treated confidentially.  

To date, 6 individuals have been diagnosed in Gibraltar with monkeypox and whilst this is a highly  unpleasant illness, all have fortunately recovered well. However, monkeypox is a serious illness  and can result in death.  

Monkeypox is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact. It is not a sexually transmitted  infection. Worldwide, although most cases are being diagnosed in men who have sex with men,  heterosexual individuals and also children have become infected through close contact with  cases. Treatment is aimed at trying to control the symptoms, self-isolation to limit the onward  transmission and offering close contacts (identified through contact tracing and confidential 

interviews undertaken by the Department of Public Health) a post-exposure vaccination with a smallpox vaccine. 

Individuals who develop a rash with skin blisters, fever, headaches, profound weakness and back  pains are advised to call 111 immediately to be clinically assessed and for testing to be arranged.  Individuals who experience these symptoms should not attend A&E or the Primary Care Centre.  This means that individuals with symptoms can be assessed and tested as quickly as possible whilst also reducing the risk of spread to others, including GHA staff and patients who may be  vulnerable.  

The Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, said: ‘The World Health Organisation have  declared monkeypox as a global public health emergency. Fortunately, the cases that we have  diagnosed in Gibraltar have all made a good recovery but it is a highly unpleasant and painful  condition. We are pleased that we have received supplies of smallpox vaccine and are able to  offer a targeted pre-exposure vaccination program for those who are most at risk of coming into  contact with the disease. I would strongly encourage individuals who are at higher risk to contact  us to arrange vaccination. The smallpox vaccine is a safe vaccine and your confidentiality will be  protected.’ 

The Director General, Professor Patrick Geoghegan, said: ‘Gibraltar is in a fortunate position to  have access to the smallpox vaccine to be able to offer a pre-exposure vaccine to those who are  at greater risk of contracting monkeypox. I would like to thank the community messaging and  engagement that has been undertaken by the Gibraltar LGBGTQ+ Committee and the Equality  Rights Group for working closely with the Director of Public Health and GHA to promote  monkeypox awareness and safety messaging, and supporting the vaccine programme.’