AMSTERDAM - Up to and including Wednesday, 1,976 people in the Netherlands received a preventive vaccination against the monkeypox virus. The GGD in Amsterdam vaccinated about half of them, 987 people. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) did not say how many people were invited, so the turnout is unknown.
The people are getting the smallpox vaccine Imvanex. The inoculation should protect them against serious illness if they contract the monkeypox virus.
The preventive vaccination started last week in Amsterdam and Haaglanden. On the first two days, 146 of the 382 invited people showed up, a turnout of about 38 percent. The GGDs attributed this to the summer holidays. People are now being vaccinated in more places in the country. Utrecht started on Saturday, IJsselland, Drenthe, and Gelderland-Midden started on Monday, and Zuid-Limburg on Tuesday. The regions Rotterdam-Rijnmond and Friesland started on Thursday and Hollands Noorden on Friday. Groningen, Twente, and Zaanstreek-Waterland will start the monkeypox vaccination campaign next week. The first injections should also be given in the remaining regions next week, the RIVM said.
In the first round, several tens of thousands of people can get the preventive vaccination. The RIVM invited them because they may be at higher risk of becoming infected with the virus. Transgender people and men who have sex with men are eligible for the shot if they are HIV positive or take medication to prevent contracting HIV.
The number of monkeypox cases has been increasing more slowly in the last week than in the weeks before. On Thursday, there were 957 confirmed cases in the Netherlands. That is 32 more than on Monday. In a week, the number of confirmed cases increased by 79. That is the smallest weekly increase since the end of June. Most people who tested positive are men who have sex with men.
In the RIVM figures, the Noord-Holland and Flevoland region has the most confirmed infections at 579. That includes Amsterdam. This is followed by the West region (Rotterdam and The Hague) with 155 confirmed monkeypox cases.