The UK’s monkeypox vaccination programme is set to effectively come to a halt until September due to global issues with supply.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed that around 5,000 doses were left in the country as of 11 August, which are expected to be administered by the end of next week.

To date, around 27,000 people have been vaccinated by the NHS and in sexual health services in England – including more than 25,300 gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

The further batch of 100,000 doses is expected to arrive “later in September”, though the UKHSA is working to expedite the delivery.

“Directors of Public Health are playing our part in efforts to deliver the vaccine to those who need it and we will continue to do so as long as stocks are available,” said Jim McManus, President of The Association of Directors of Public Health. “We are also working with UKHSA and a range of partners nationally to help ensure that when more doses arrive, we will be able to deliver them as quickly, fairly and efficiently as possible.”

Until the additional doses become available, the NHS and its partners will continue to use any residual supplies to vaccinate more people.

It will also work to ensure that people know where and how to access the vaccine.

In addition, sexual health services will keep a record of those eligible for the jab to ensure that they can get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Richard Angell, Campaigns Director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said the news was “deeply concerning”. 

“Our advice would be to try not to panic ahead of further supplies of the vaccine arriving in the country and to be aware of the symptoms and latest advice for protecting against monkeypox,” he continued.

“Mistakes have been made in terms of the vaccine programme and we want to see these rectified going forward.

“With limited supplies but the promise of more availability, the emphasis placed on sexual health clinics was to get the vaccine to as many gay and bisexual men as quickly as possible.

“Little did they know they would be facing a cliff edge in vaccine availability until supplies were already nearly gone. This means that some people who should already have been prioritised for the vaccine will be forced to wait.”