Uptake of Mpox vaccination among transgender people and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men among sexually-transmitted infection clinic clients in Vancouver, British Columbia

Graph showing Monkeypox cases and doses of vaccine administered, British Columbia, May to September 2022.
Elsevier, Vaccine, Volume 41, 6 April 2023
Gilbert M., Ablona A., Chang H.-J., Grennan T., Irvine M.A., Sarai Racey C. et al.

Objectives: As the primary public health strategy for controlling the 2022 Mpox outbreak, it is critical to evaluate the impact of Mpox vaccination campaigns for transgender people and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (T/GBM). We measured vaccine uptake and associated factors among T/GBM clients of an urban STI clinic in British Columbia (BC). Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional online survey between August 8–22, 2022 of clients who had attended the STI clinic, 5–7 weeks following the first-dose Mpox vaccination campaign in BC. We drew on a systematic review of factors associated with vaccine uptake to develop survey questions, and measured vaccine uptake among vaccine-eligible T/GBM. Results: Overall, 51% of T/GBM had received the first dose of the vaccine. The sample (331 participants) was majority White and university educated, identified as a man and gay, 10% had trans experience, and 68% met eligibility criteria for vaccination. Among vaccine-eligible participants identifying as T/GBM, 66% had been vaccinated; being unvaccinated was more common among participants identifying as bisexual or heteroflexible/mostly straight, and who spent less time with other T/GBM. Eligible yet unvaccinated participants had lower perceived susceptibility, and reported fewer cues to action (e.g., fewer saw information promoting the vaccine), and increased constraints to vaccine access; vaccine barriers related to accessing clinics and privacy were common. The majority (85%) of those eligible and unvaccinated at time of survey were willing to receive the vaccine. Conclusion: In this sample of STI clinic clients, vaccine uptake among eligible T/GBM was high in the initial weeks following a Mpox vaccination campaign. However, uptake was patterned on social gradients with lower uptake among T/GBM who may be less effectively engaged by available promotion channels. We recommend early, intentional and diverse engagement of T/GBM populations in Mpox and other targeted vaccination programs.