Passport, luggage, mpox vax – your travel checklist

As the northern hemisphere enters their summer season, you may be one of the many making the great escape to bask in the warmth of a sunny destination such as Europe. And we don’t blame you. Whether it’s bumping and grinding in Barcelona, getting laid in L.A., and everything in between, there’s no shortage of holiday fun to be had.

If you’re making the annual pilgrimage north of the equator, you probably have a checklist of sorts – passport, party tickets, flights and accommodation, swimwear, PrEP and so on. But there’s one more item you should add to that list if you haven’t already, and that is a vaccine for mpox.

Last year, you may recall hearing about mpox – and probably for the first time – after it was reported in Europe and began to circulate amongst sexual networks of guys who hook up with guys throughout the continent and beyond. It’s an infection that is not technically an STI but is spread through skin-to-skin contact which can include sex, and symptoms usually include fever, headaches, body aches and a rash or lesions.

Here in NSW, despite a recent case of mpox reported within community, we’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding an outbreak and that’s largely thanks to community jumping on board and getting vaccinated.

But abroad, with some countries still reporting active cases of mpox, it’s in our best interest to do what we can to protect ourselves.

Don’t delay, get vaxxed for mpox now

Right now, getting vaccinated for mpox is encouraged if you haven’t already and you’re intending to travel overseas in the coming months.

The vaccine available in Australia (called JYNNEOS) is free regardless of Medicare, is highly effective at preventing mpox infection, involves just two easy jabs and is safe to use in immunocompromised people.

What’s crucial is the time required between the two injections – 28 days. It’s these four weeks apart that is recommended for optimum protection, which means if you are planning to travel then you’ll want to be getting your first jab sooner rather than later. If you’re travelling in less than 28 days, then it’s still worth your while to get the first jab so that you have some level of protection. Then, for your second jab, you could consider looking into local services at your destination, otherwise get it upon your return to Australia.

Under the NSW Health Mpox Vaccination Program, eligibility for the vaccine is all gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (cis and trans) as well as anyone who has sex with these men, including women (cis and trans), non-binary people and sex workers.

Book your mpox vaccine via the NSW Health website.

Holiday worry-free

One of the last things you want on your mind while you’re sipping that poolside pina colada is mpox. And the last souvenir you want to bring back home with you is something like mpox.

By getting vaccinated and staying vigilant and informed, you can have the sexy summer you’ve worked hard for (and maybe exercised hard for too) so the only thing you need to worry about is your tan and if that handsome guy across the bar is single.

Now, holiday-mode: ON!

Stay updated on the latest of mpox with ACON Health.