Interim data from a community-based monkeypox (MPXV) survey demonstrates an overwhelming demand for monkeypox vaccine and vaccine-roll-out, especially amongst those who consider themselves to be at risk-of MPXV.
The survey is collaboration between the SHARE Collaborative at Queen Mary University of London, and community-based organisations Sophia Forum and The Love Tank community interest community (CIC). It was launched on 15 June 2022 and is expected to remain open for three months.
Preliminary analysis of the first 1,949 respondents to complete the survey has been released to assist in developing policy and planning of MPXV vaccine roll-out, and vaccine information programmes.
Over a half of respondents perceived themselves to be at risk of MPXV (52%), just over a quarter said they did not consider themselves to be at risk (27%), and around one-fifth (21%) did not know or were unsure about their risk.
The vast majority of all respondents (86%) said that they would accept a MPXV vaccine, if one was offered and made available to them. Only 6% of respondents said they would not accept a vaccine, and 8% were not sure or did not know.
Recruitment was undertaken online using social media to promote the survey and via mailing lists of the survey’s collaborators. Other community and statutory organisations were asked to share the survey link and the gay dating app Grindr provided a pro-bono broadcast link to the survey to its UK users on Friday 1 July 2022. As such, it is expected that respondents to this interim phase of the survey will be more likely to be app-using sexually active men who have sex with men.
15% of respondents were under 29, and around a further quarter were each in the age ranges of 30-39, 40-49, and 50-59. Approximately 12% were 60 and over.
The overwhelming majority of respondents were assigned male at birth (93%), with an almost similar percentage reporting their sexual identity as gay, bisexual or queer (90%). 4% of respondents said that their sexual identity was straight/heterosexual.
Amongst those who perceived themselves to be at risk of MPXV, vaccine acceptability was even higher (94%), with only 2% saying they would not accept vaccination if offered. Even in those who did not perceive themselves to be at risk of MPXV, or were unsure, vaccine acceptability was still very high at 73% and 84% respectively (see table 1 below).
Dr Chloe Orkin, Professor of HIV Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Director of SHARE Collaborative said:
"It is incredibly important not to make assumptions either about how communities perceive their risk or about their willingness to accept interventions, in this case a vaccine. This collaborative community participatory research shows the importance of real-time assessment of public health and media messaging to iteratively inform public health interventions."
Dr Sara Paparini, project lead on the survey said:
"The exceptional response to the survey shows the degree of concern and engagement in different communities. The results to questions about the vaccine indicate the urgency felt by many respondents with regards to vaccine access, even when they do not currently feel directly at risk. This is a direct response from affected communities to the evolving situation and requires an appropriate response"
Dr Will Nutland, Co-Director of The Love Tank CIC commented:
"This interim data provides compelling evidence to support the acceptability of monkeypox vaccination, especially to those who most perceive themselves at enhanced risk of monkeypox acquisition. Urgent action and leadership need to be taken to ensure a UK wide monkeypox vaccination plan is in place and is communicated."
Image: Colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox virus particles (gold) cultivated and purified from cell culture. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID
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