Life-saving jabs for the monkeypox virus were hard to get hold of with Australia among a small group of nations to have secured the newest vaccines, Health Minister Mark Butler says.
Mr Butler said the federal government had 27 meetings with Bavarian Nordic over the past several weeks to secure the vaccines.
“There’s been a burst of activity by governments to get their hands on the newest third generation vaccine, which is the one we’ve got,” he told ABC radio on Friday.
“We’re now only one of a very small list of countries that have supplies coming to us in 2022.”
The government has secured 450,000 doses, with the first delivery of 22,000 doses due to arrive in Australia within days.
The remainder of the vaccines will arrive later this year and into 2023.
Meanwhile, NSW will begin rolling out a monkeypox vaccine to high-risk groups next week as Western Australia reports its first case of the virus.
The eastern state has reported 33 cases since May and the first stage of the vaccine rollout will start on Monday with 5500 people targeted.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant urged residents to look out for symptoms of the virus, especially if they’d recently returned home from overseas.
“It’s important people continue to be self-aware when it comes to their health and wellbeing,” she said.
Symptoms include rashes, lesions or sores – particularly around the genitals – as well as fevers, aches and swollen lymph nodes.
People at high risk of contracting monkeypox include men who have sex with men, sex workers and people who are immunocompromised.
Severe cases will require hospitalisation.
In Western Australia, the state’s first case was reported in Perth with the infected overseas traveller currently in isolation.
Authorities said the risk to the community was low but Paul Armstrong, from the Communicable Disease Control Directorate, urged people to be vigilant.
“While the current overseas outbreak has disproportionately impacted men who have sex with men, anyone who has had close contact with a person with monkeypox is advised to self-monitor for symptoms,” he said.
The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact or from touching contaminated objects, including bedding, towels or clothes.
The federal government announced on Thursday it had ordered 450,000 monkeypox vaccine doses.
Another 30,000 doses will be rolled out in NSW by the end of September and 70,000 early next year.