A man wearing a facemask who has been vaccinated
Posed by model (Photo: Shutterstock)

Health officials have again reiterated the importance for gay and bisexual men to get both shots of the mpox vaccine. Getting two shots boosts your immunity. The warning comes amidst fears of a resurgence in the infection, previously known as monkeypox.

Yesterday, the CDC issued the results of the first real-world study into the effectiveness of the vaccine. That means a study undertaken during an actual outbreak rather than under trial conditions. They studied over 900 people in 12 different regions of the US. Of these, 300 had been vaccinated, while 600 had not.

The study took place between Aug. 19, 2022, and March 31, 2023.

The results were clear. One shot of the vaccine led to 75% protection against the mpox virus. Two shots led to 86% protection.

If you’re HIV+, the vaccine was 70% effective after two doses and 51% for a single dose.

After vaccination, it is still possible to become infected with mpox. However, you’re far less likely to experience serious symptoms, if any at all.

Since the mpox outbreak of last summer, 30,000 people in the US have been diagnosed with the infection. The majority of them were gay and bi men. There have been around 40 deaths. Just over half of those were in people with advanced HIV and compromised immune systems.

Mpox summer resurgence

Officials worry about a resurgence in the virus after news of 24 men contracting it in Chicago in recent weeks. There are fears that the arrival of Pride and festival season will see more cases.

“Without renewed prevention efforts, especially vaccination, we are definitely at risk of a resurgence, in fact, a substantial risk of resurgence of mpox,” Christopher Braden, mpox response incident manager for the CDC, told reporters during a media briefing, reports Reuters.

Demetre Daskalakis, deputy head of the White House mpox task force, reiterated the message in his own call with reporters yesterday, reports The Hill.

“Simply put, higher vaccination rates equal lower risk for an outbreak,” Daskalakis told reporters. “So even though no vaccine is perfect, even imperfect immunity in many people, still means a lot of immunity in the population.”

Organizers of the International Mr Leather gathering, due to take place in Chicago next week, recently reminded those planning to attend to get themselves jabbed.

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