The Health Service Executive has said more appointments for monkeypox vaccinations will be made available at the start of next month after all available appointments were booked out.
Appointments were snapped up within hours and there are no vaccination appointments available this morning.
It is thought between 6,000 and 13,000 people are eligible for the vaccine. People needing the vaccine get two doses, 28 days apart.
The virus spreads through close contact, including contact with the skin rash of someone infected, other symptoms include a fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion.
Executive Director of HIV Ireland Stephen O’Hare said: “It’s not surprising, given the level of community engagement, that all of the available appointments were snapped up yesterday, we know that demand is very, very high.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the HSE has indicated that more vaccine will be procured in in the coming weeks and months and it is “an imperative that that is done and that we have enough stock to meet the demand.”
He said there have been “some teething problems” in terms of putting the vaccination programme in place.
But as soon as the services are fully operational it is expected that the demand will be met, he said.
At a glance: What is monkeypox and who is at risk?
Since the outbreak of monkeypox began, HIV Ireland has been calling for a sufficient supply of vaccine to be procured, he said.
“And it has been difficult, given that monkeypox is international, the virus is in many countries and many health services are seeking to get access to a limited supply of vaccines,” Mr O’Hare added.
“In saying that, it has been a protracted rollout and what we would like to see now is all of the sites come on, all of those sites be fully operational as soon as possible and enough vaccine procured to meet the demand and for those appointments to roll out to anybody who wants to avail of a vaccine.”
He said HIV Ireland has been working to get as much information out as possible as to how people might meet the criteria for accessing a vaccine.
He explained that it is a self-referral process.
“People won’t be quizzed about their sexual history when they’re accessing the vaccine when they’re at their appointment,” Mr O’Hare said.
He said it is important that everybody knows whether they fall into the eligible category or not.
“So, I think as much information as can be made available in a systematic way, perhaps in an information campaign, that should be done right throughout the vaccination term,” Mr O’Hare said.