Monkeypox: Denmark to offer vaccination to at-risk group

The Danish Health Authority has called for people in higher risk groups for infection with Monkeypox to be on high alert for symptoms of the virus. Vaccination against the virus will now be offered to men who have sex with men and who have different sexual partners.

Monkeypox: Denmark to offer vaccination to at-risk group
An illustration photo showing monkeypox vaccines. Denmark is to broaden its vaccination offer to include all people at higher risk of contracting the virus. Photo:Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

The vice director of the Danish Health Authority, Helene Probst, told broadcaster DR that people in risk groups show be “extra aware” of symptoms, with case numbers currently increasing.

“Vaccination is one part of a strategy with several elements, but it is also important to be aware of symptoms,” Probst told broadcaster DR.

Typical symptoms of Monkeypox are similar to those most experience with influenza.

Additional symptoms can include a rash in the groin area, itching and discomfort, and blisters in the mouth or on hands. Should these symptoms present, the sufferer should contact their doctor, be tested for monkeypox and avoid close contact with others.

The disease can be passed on to others once symptoms are present.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Danish Health Authority said it would now offer vaccination against monkeypox to all men who have sex with men and who have different sexual partners.

“In light of increasing infections we have seen with monkeypox in Denmark and because we now have an approved vaccine, we have re-evaluated our vaccine strategy,” Probst said in a statement.

The risk of infection with the virus is not higher for particular sexes or sexualities but high numbers of cases have been detected in the group in question, in Denmark as well as internationally.

Previously, Danish health authorities only offered vaccination to people who had been in close contact with a confirmed case. That is now changed so that all people in the specified risk group will be offered a vaccination.

Latest data from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the national infectious disease agency, show that 126 people in Denmark have contracted monkeypox since the first case was detected in the country in late May.

“We hope that through these various measures we are able to take the momentum out of infections,” Probst said.

READ ALSO: WHO warns ‘high’ risk of monkeypox in Europe as it declares health emergency

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Danish health authorities to spend on recruitment and postpone construction in 2023

Denmark’s five regional health boards have finalised budgets for 2023, with recruitment and improvement of working environments largely prioritised over expansion and construction projects.

Danish health authorities to spend on recruitment and postpone construction in 2023

The budgets will provide more money for recruiting and retaining staff, improving work environments at hospitals and on local services.

Spending on facilities has been given lower priority, meaning several construction projects are to be postponed, the collective organisation for the regional health authorities, Danske Regioner, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Regions are attempting to address a labour shortage in the health service and the new budgets reflect this, national chairperson Anders Kühnau said.

“In the regions we have great focus on patients that are waiting for treatment here and now. It is therefore our top priority to acquire relevant personnel so we can reduce waiting times for patients,” Kühnau said in the statement.

“That applies to strain at emergency departments, psychiatric departments and operatin theatres right now – but also to longer-term challenges,” he said.

Spending on local services includes boosted budgets for GP services.

Reduced spending on physical facilities is linked in part to the current climate of high energy costs and inflation.

“Prices are increasing and we must be responsible in the Regions. Specifically, that will mean that some construction projects must unfortunately be postponed. Only the most essential will be prioritised,” Kühnau said.

The suspended constructions and those that will still go ahead were not specified.

Regional budget agreements for 2023 also include funding for cyber security. Extra spending will also go on drinking water and decontamination of ground pollution.

Regions – and their elected boards – administrate public hospitals and the GP system. They also orchestrate regional mass transit and are involved in welfare and social development.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between a municipality and a region in Denmark?