Victorians urged to get mpox vaccine as local cases rise

Picture: By Mathurin Napoly

Eligible Victorians are being urged to get vaccinated against mpox amid an increased risk of local transmission across the state.

Current records show 61 mpox (previously known as monkeypox) cases have been reported in Victoria since April 2024, with most cases acquired in Australia.

The virus is usually spread from person-to-person by prolonged physical or intimate contact with someone who has mpox, especially with skin rashes, lesions, sores or scabs.

Mpox can start with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headaches and muscle aches and pains. It causes a rash or skin lesions and swollen lymph nodes.

Symptoms can occur up to 21 days after being exposed to mpox.

Since May 2022, there has been a large international outbreak of mpox that is predominantly impacting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

Victorian Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Christian McGrath said the recent uptick in cases in Victoria is cause for concern.

“Mpox is not just a disease you can contract overseas – it is spreading locally in Victoria and people at risk need to consider how to best protect themselves.”

In Victoria, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are most at risk in the current outbreak. However, anyone who has been in close, and usually prolonged, intimate contact with someone with mpox is at risk.

Dr McGrath said the best line of defence against mpox is to get vaccinated.

“While mpox can still occur following vaccination, it significantly reduces the risk of transmission and disease severity.

“It’s vital that you have two doses of the vaccine for optimal protection.”

Avoiding contact with infected people, considering limiting your number of sexual partners and maintaining good hygiene are also important for the prevention of mpox.

In Victoria, the mpox vaccine is available free-of-charge for people who are at risk.

For information on eligibility and where to get the mpox vaccine please visit