Thousands of foreigners rush to Montreal to get vaccinated against monkeypox

Thousands of foreigners flock to Montreal to get vaccinated against monkey pox

MISE À DAY

Thousands of foreigners, including hundreds of Americans, flock to the monkeypox vaccines offered to everyone in Montreal, in a context of scarcity of doses in the United States. 

Located approximately 70 km from the American border, the Quebec metropolis made the decision at the start of its vaccination campaign to accept anyone who considered themselves to be at risk.

Robb Stilson is one of the Americans who took advantage during a visit to Montreal.

“It is very difficult in the United States to get vaccinated […] I have friends who waited 8 to 9 hours before being admitted”, says this artistic director from the queue of a ephemeral vaccination center with her husband and two daughters.

Faced with the difficulty of tracing the origin of infections, the Montreal authorities have chosen to target their vaccination campaign to all those “meeting the criteria risk factors for smallpox transmission”.

“As tourists they may participate in activities that may expose them and so in a way we are fighting the pandemic by allowing them to be vaccinated here so that they do not transmit the infection, nor here , or when they return home,” Dr. Donald Vinh, infectious disease specialist at the McGill University Health Center, told AFP.

With this approach, combined with a vaccination campaign launched as soon as the appearance of the first cases in mid-May, Montreal has already vaccinated nearly 18,500 people, 13% of whom are foreigners.

The goal is to deliver 25,000 doses to protect around 75-80% of those at risk, including men who have sex with other men or multiple partners.

“I hope the strategy used by the Montreal public health agency will serve as a model,” adds Dr. Vinh.

In Western Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Health decided last week to no longer accept foreigners who come “for the purpose of vaccination”, citing “limited supplies” and considering that the vaccine is now “widely available in the United States”.

Faced with a lack of doses available, the American health authorities authorized on Tuesday a new injection procedure which should make it possible to “increase the total number of doses available up to five times”.

As of August 11, the Canada had 1,059 confirmed cases of monkeypox. Federal authorities added, however, that there were “early signs” that the spread of infections was beginning to slow.