HANDOUT - 02.04.2004, Berlin: Elektronenmikroskopische Aufnahme von Affenpocken-Viren, Ultradünnschnitt. (zu dpa: «Ministerium: Bislang 24 Affenpocken-Fälle im Südwesten nachgewiesen») Foto: Freya Kaulbars/RKI/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Vaccination against monkeypox in Berlin is scheduled to begin next week. That said Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) after the Senate meeting on Tuesday. It is still unclear exactly on which day the first vaccines could be injected.

First of all, a contract with the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians had to be concluded so that the medical practices could become active, said Gote. “Every day counts for me when I see that 30 to 50 people get infected every day.”

As of Monday evening, 557 people infected with monkeypox were registered in Berlin, said the health senator. Of the 838 cases nationwide, two thirds were in the capital. “So far, the disease has only spread in Berlin among men who have sex with men,” Gote explained. The vaccinations will therefore initially concentrate on this group and the contact persons of infected people.

After the first 8,000 doses, Berlin is to receive a total of 80,000 in a second vaccine delivery to the Federal Republic in mid-July due to the special distribution of 200,000 vaccines.

The vaccination should be offered in the Charité, the St. Josef Hospital in Tempelhof and, if necessary, at the health authorities of the districts. Vaccination campaigns in front of clubs are also conceivable, says Gote.

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Although the disease has so far only occurred among gay men, Gote emphasized that anyone could potentially become infected. “This is not a disease that only affects gay men.” The virus is not only transmitted during sex but also through close physical contact. “Condoms don’t really help with monkeypox. You should be more careful there, ”said the senator.

She also warned against taking an infection lightly. Although the virus is significantly milder than human smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980, an infection is “very painful”.