THE Welsh health minister has urged people to "stay alert" to the spread of Monkeypox after news that second doses would be offered to those at the highest risk.

On 23 September, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued an updated strategy setting out recommendations on vaccination in relation to the Monkeypox outbreak.

Second vaccine doses are to be offered to those at highest risk from monkeypox.

The main aim of the vaccination strategy is to interrupt transmission and to bring the Monkeypox outbreak under control.

Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan has urged the public to remain vigilant.

"Everyone is being asked to be aware of Monkeypox symptoms," she said.

"It’s particularly important gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are alert.

"People should be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia. They should contact NHS 111 or a sexual health service if they have concerns.

"Once again, I want to reassure gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men that their interests are our priority.

"We are keen to avoid a situation where stigma, or fear of stigma, prevents individuals from accessing health care services or asking for help.

"It is important that we do not allow stigma or misinformation do more harm than the virus itself."

Ms Morgan said that the UKHSA recommendation was prioritising the vaccination of the highest risk group with two doses, rather than expanding the numbers of people that are eligible for vaccination with a single dose.

"It was felt that offering second doses to the existing high risk eligible group completes their primary course, maximising their direct protection and indirect protection," she said.

"It was seen as operationally more feasible to do so as this group is more easily identifiable.

"This action combined with the earlier advice to use the intradermal method of delivery using fractional doses would also likely result in some doses remaining available for use in outbreaks."

Ms Morgan said NHS Wales will begin rolling out this strategy "as soon as possible".

People are advised not to come forward for the vaccine until contacted.

"While there were two new cases of Monkeypox in Wales during September, it remains important to continue to prioritise the vaccination programme in order to break the chain of transmission and bring the outbreak under control," Ms Morgan said.

"I am extremely grateful to the NHS and everyone involved in supporting the Monkeypox response and all vaccination programmes for their continued hard work."