Some people in Thunder Bay will soon be able to get the monkeypox vaccine, although there are no confirmed cases of the virus in the area yet.
“A few tests were done, but it was not monkeypox,” said Thunder Bay District Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janet DeMille. “So that’s very reassuring. We continue to work a lot with the province on how to understand the transmission.”
As of Tuesday, there were 423 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ontario, according to Public Health Ontario. The agency’s latest report says most cases – nearly 78% – have been reported in Toronto.
Almost all of those affected are male, with only two reported cases in female patients. According to Public Health Ontario, the average age of confirmed cases is just under 36.
DeMille said the Thunder Bay health unit expects to receive doses of a monkeypox vaccine soon. However, she added, it will likely be a small amount to start with and will only be available to high-risk groups.
Solid update on COVID-19 reminder
Meanwhile, DeMille said the TBDHU is seeing good absorption of the second doses of the COVID-19 booster.
“Certainly, we continue to encourage those most at risk, including people over 60 and anyone who is immunocompromised or [has] underlying health issues,” DeMille said. “A lot of people have come forward and it’s really nice to see.”
Adoption among people ages 18 to 59 has been slower, DeMille said.
“There are benefits to adding more protection for these people,” she said. “But because they’re younger and maybe less likely to have a serious illness, there may be somewhat less benefit.”
However, DeMille noted that a new vaccine specifically targeting the Omicron variant could be available in September.
“It will start with those who are most at risk, the elderly and long-term care homes, for example,” she said. “But at the moment we don’t have any real confirmation of the actual dates.”
DeMille said as of mid-July, most active COVID-19 cases in the Thunder Bay area were the BA.5 variant, which is a subvariant of Omicron.