ABOUT THE VACCINE
The vaccine can be used two ways:
- Before exposure to the mpox virus (the vaccine is given before getting exposed to the virus to help protect against mpox).
- After exposure to the mpox virus, before you have symptoms (the vaccine is given after being exposed to prevent illness or severe outcomes).
A supply of vaccine that protects against mpox has been made available to BC by the federal government. Vaccination has been offered to at-risk populations since June 2022.
People who are eligible can now book first or second dose appointments.
Who should get the vaccine?
If you are at increased risk of exposure to mpox or you have been identified by public health as being a close contact of someone with mpox, it may be recommended that you get the vaccine. You can find the eligibility criteria for the vaccine on the BCCDC's Mpox page.
The vaccine is given by injection as two doses, at least 4 weeks apart.
Due to limited supply, this vaccine is intended for residents of Canada or those visiting BC for prolonged periods of time. People from outside Canada should not travel to BC vaccine clinics for immunization; we cannot provide the vaccine to those visiting the province for the purpose of being vaccinated. Please contact your local Public Health unit for information about receiving mpox vaccine.
Subcutaneous or intradermal injection
To ensure there is enough vaccine to offer second doses to all who are eligible, a second dose will be offered one of two ways: subcutaneous injection or intradermal injection.
- Subcutaneous injection is familiar to people who have received other vaccines such as measles, mumps and rubella or chickenpox vaccines, or the first dose of Imvamune. It is an injection into the tissues underneath the skin but above the muscle, usually on the upper outer arm.
- Intradermal injection delivers vaccines into the layer of skin, usually on the forearm. It requires less of the vaccine (one-fifth dose) and generates a similar immune response. This technique is used for select medications, and for TB skin tests.
What are the benefits of the vaccine?
The vaccine can prevent mpox or make the illness less severe. This makes it less likely for you to pass mpox to others.
What are the side effects?
The vaccine is very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get mpox. The vaccine cannot give you mpox.
Common reactions to the vaccine may include soreness, redness, swelling, itching and a lump where the vaccine was given. These reactions are more common and last longer when the vaccine is given under the top layer of skin (intradermally) instead of into the fatty tissue just under the skin (subcutaneously). Skin may also become temporarily discolored when the vaccine is given intradermally. Other reactions include tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness, nausea and loss of appetite. Reactions to the vaccine are more common in people with atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema).
If you have concerns about any symptoms you develop after receiving the vaccine speak with your health care provider or call 8-1-1 for advice.
Always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health care provider.
Where can I get the mpox vaccine?
To learn more about mpox vaccinations, eligibility criteria and to book an appointment, refer to your region:
Appointments are added regularly. If there are no available appointments, please check back.
No vaccine is 100% effective. If you have been vaccinated and develop symptoms, follow the steps above for if you become ill to protect yourself and others.
ABOUT THE DISEASE
- Mpox is a disease caused by the mpox virus.
- It is usually a mild illness, and most people recover on their own after a few weeks.
- Most people experience symptoms that last 2 to 4 weeks and occur in two stages. Read more about mpox symptoms.
- Children, pregnant people and people with weak immune systems may have a more serious illness.
- It can take up to 21 days to develop mpox symptoms after exposure to the virus.
- Mpox can be spread by touching the mpox sores, fluid from them, or items such as bedding, clothes or towels that have the mpox virus on them.
- It can also be spread through close face-to-face contact when a person with mpox coughs or sneezes.
- A person with mpox can spread the virus to others while they have symptoms and until all of the scabs on their skin have fallen off and new skin has formed.
- Mpox vaccine information sheet (BCCDC).
- BCCDC's mpox page.
- Factsheet on Mpox Recommendations for Two-Spirit, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (2SGBTQ+) Communities.
- A 3-page hangout developed to support conversations about mpox among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.