monkeypox Northumberland

What is monkeypox?

Find out the signs and symptoms of monkeypox, what to do if you think you have it and who is eligible for a vaccine

A small number of people in the UK have recently been diagnosed with monkeypox. Most of these cases are in London and the risk of getting it is still currently low.

Although anyone can get monkeypox, most cases in the UK have been in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men. If this is you, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox and what to do next.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral infection, which is spread by very close contact with an infected person.

Initial symptoms:

Muscle aches and back ache
Swollen glands
Joint pain
A rash usually appears one to five days after your first symptoms. This can be on any part of your body, including your face, hands and genitals. You may also have anal pain or bleeding from your bottom.

Usually symptoms are mild enough to not require hospital admission but can last up to four weeks.

What should you do if you think you have monkeypox?

You should call a sexual health clinic if you have a rash with blister, anal pain or bleeding from your bottom and have either:

  • Been in close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has or might have monkeypox (even if they’ve not been tested yet) in the past three weeks
  • Had one or more new sexual partners in the past three weeks
  • Been to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks

Before visiting the clinic, you should call first and tell the person you’re speaking to if you suspect you have monkeypox.

You can also call NHS 111 if you’re unable to contact a sexual health clinic.

What should you do if you think your child has monkeypox?

You should call your GP if your child has a rash with blisters and has either:

  • Been in close contact with someone who has or might have monkeypox (even if they’ve not been tested yet) in the past three weeks.
  • Been to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks.
  • Call the surgery before you visit and tell the person you speak to if you suspect your child has monkeypox.
Do you need to self-isolate if you have monkeypox?

While you have symptoms, you can pass monkeypox onto other people. You should stay home and avoid close contact with other people, particularly young children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed people.

Children should also stay at home and avoid close contact with other people.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has produced detailed advice about how to isolate safely at home.

You should self-isolate at home until:

You have not had a high temperature for at least 72 hours.
You have had no new blister in the past 48 hours.
All your lesions have scabbed over.
You have no lesions in your mouth.
Any blisters on your face, arms and hands have scabbed over, all the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath.
If you meet all the points above, you may be able to stop self-isolating, but you should seek medical advice first.

You should also continue to avoid close contact with young children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed people until all the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath.

It is not known whether monkeypox can be transmitted through genital secretions, and so it is recommended to use condoms for 12 weeks after your rash has scabbed over and fallen off.

What should you do if you are a close contact of someone with monkeypox?
If you are a close contact of someone with monkeypox and you have symptoms you should isolate for 21 days. If you test positive you will need to continue to isolate.

If you do not have symptoms you do not need to self-isolate, but you should follow guidance from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA):

Contact NHS 111 or a sexual health clinic if you develop a fever or any of the other monkeypox symptoms.
Avoid skin to skin contact with others.
Refrain from sexual or intimate contact.
Avoid international travel if possible.
Let any health or care staff know you’re a close contact before you attend any appointments.

Is there a monkeypox vaccine?

Yes. Monkeypox is caused by a similar virus to smallpox. The smallpox (MVA) vaccine should give a good level of protection against monkeypox.

The UKHSA and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is recommending the use of the smallpox vaccine as part of our response to the rise in cases of monkeypox in the UK.

Currently, the NHS is offering smallpox vaccines to people are most likely to be exposed to monkeypox. This includes:

  • Healthcare workers who are caring for and who are due to start caring for a patient with monkeypox.
  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Your clinician will advise vaccination for you if you have multiple partners, participate in group sex or attend ‘sex on premises’ venues (staff who work in these premises may also be eligible).
  • People who have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox. You should receive a single dose of the vaccine as soon as possible, ideally within four days of contact, but it can be given up to 14 days after.
  • If you’re at risk of exposure, your local NHS services will contact you and offer you a vaccine. You can also check the website of your local sexual health service for more information.

Go to GOV.UK to find out more about the vaccine and possible side effects.

Further information about monkeypox

GOV.UK: general monkeypox information
Latest GOV.UK updates on monkeypox in the UK
NHS: general monkeypox information
Terrence Higgins Trust: monkeypox in the UK
UK Health Security Agency: Protecting you from monkeypox
Groundswell: monkeypox


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Vaccination Centre sign

Vaccination Centre for Hexham

A seventh large vaccination centre for the region will open at Hexham Mart on Thursday 13 May 2021.

Take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine has been exceptionally strong – 19 out of 20 people aged 50 and over have already chosen to take up the offer, and the number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds coming forward has more than tripled over the last two months.

Now the programme has moved to Priority Group 10, the NHS is asking those aged 40 and over to come forward for their vaccine.

The seventh large vaccination centre for the region in Hexham joins the six large vaccination centres which are at Newcastle’s Centre for Life, the NHS Nightingale Hospital North East, Sunderland, the Arnison Centre, Durham, Darlington Arena, The Riverside Stadium at Middlesbrough and the Auction Mart at Penrith.

These large centres operate in conjunction with local vaccination services run by groups of GPs working together in Primary Care Networks PCNs) and services offered by some community pharmacies.

The Hexham vaccination centre will be called ‘Hexham Mart Vaccination Centre’ and is based at Hexham Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham, Northumberland NE46 3SG.  People are invited to attend large vaccination centres and community pharmacy locations by the National Booking Service which is run by NHS England. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP.

The staffing and volunteers for the centre are in place, ready to see up to 800 people a day, vaccine supply permitting.

The decision to open a large new vaccination centre in Hexham was made in conjunction with local NHS partners so that the West Northumberland PCN, which has delivered over 60,000 vaccinations so far, could return to providing core GP services for local patients including those whose needs may not have been met so far during the pandemic.

West Northumberland PCN will continue to deliver vaccinations for their most vulnerable patients in Priority Groups 1-9, including over 27,000 second doses still to be given to those patients.

The Hexham Mart Vaccination Centre will provide a local option for residents of West Northumberland eligible for a first dose (those aged 18-49 years) alongside several community pharmacy sites which will be available to book via the National Booking Service.

Eligible people receive a letter or text message and are invited to book either online or by calling 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm – only people invited to book can do so.

There are currently five community pharmacy sites across Northumberland with more sites being added to the National Booking Service across the region so people in Northumberland can access different locations.

The National Booking Service will now show appointments for Hexham Mart and community pharmacies, but not for appointments that are offered by existing vaccination services run by GPs in primary care networks.

NHS Northumberland CCG has also commissioned a Roving Vaccination Service which will continue to target patients across the county’s most rural and isolated communities. This range of services will help to ensure that anybody who wants to receive a vaccine can do so and that nobody is left behind by the programme.

While vaccine supply can be ‘bumpy’, people should not be worried. There is enough vaccine supply to make sure that everyone who wants to have a vaccination can do so.

Professor Neil Watson, Chief Operating Officer for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme for the North East and North Cumbria, said “The NHS continues to deliver, with over 2.2 million vaccines having been given in our region alone, which is a phenomenal amount and something to be very proud of.”

I’d like to thank our fantastic teams who remain focussed on delivering excellent care and our patients who keep coming forward in large numbers to make sure they are vaccinated and protected from this awful virus.”

This seventh large vaccination centre for the region allows us to carry on this great work with the over 40-year-old age group, so we can get back to a sense of normality as quickly as we can.”

Rachel Mitcheson, Service Director Transformation and Integrated Care, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group said “West Northumberland Primary Care Network has done a phenomenal job and we thank everyone who has been involved in this exceptional effort.”

“It’s right that primary care in the west of the county focus on recovery of local primary care health services impacted as a result of the pandemic, including continuing to deliver second doses to priority groups 1-9.”

Latest Covid-19 Information

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

In response to some of the questions people in Northumberland have raised about the Covid-19 vaccination programme, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has put together a series of short videos. These will hopefully address some of the common concerns we have been hearing about the vaccination programme.

The CCG is responsible for the planning and buying of local NHS services for people in Northumberland.

In the videos, Richard Hay, Head of Planning and Operations at Northumberland CCG talks about how the Covid-19 vaccination programme is going in the county, addresses concerns over supply and safety of the vaccine, and how people will be contacted with an appointment for to get theirs.


One minute videos:

Why am I being offered an appointment for my vaccination so far away?

Should we be worried about the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine in Northumberland?

Why isn’t there a large vaccination centre in Northumberland?

Are people in Northumberland having to wait longer for their Covid-19 vaccination than people in other parts of the country?

Is the Covid-19 vaccination safe?

Why am I being told not to contact my GP about my vaccination appointment?

If I’ve had my Covid-19 vaccine, why can’t I mix with other people?


Podcast: How the vaccination programme is going in Northumberland, with Richard Hay of Northumberland CCG.


Visit our Covid-19 Information Page

Covid-19 Vaccinations: April 2021

Covid-19 Vaccinations Northumberland

As we head into April, priority for vaccinations in Northumberland is being given to those who are due their second dose, with any extra available vaccinations going to those in priority groups 1 – 9 who are yet to have a first dose. People in groups 1 – 9 will continue to be invited for their vaccination in age order.

If you are due a second dose in the next few weeks and haven’t yet got an appointment, look out for a text message and keep an ear out for the telephone as you will be contacted soon.

Please don’t call your GP practice to ask when you will get an invitation to be vaccinated. Vaccination centres and GP practices have no control over supplies coming into the county and so are unable to tell patients when they might be invited to make an appointment. Your surgery still want to hear from you if you have an urgent medical issue.

Noone will be forgotten and everyone who would like a vaccination will be offered one over the coming weeks and months.

Government information on the Covid-19 vaccination programme

Covid-19 information for Northumberland

Covid19 vaccinations Northumberland

Covid-19 Vaccinations in Northumberland 

Covid-19 vaccinations in Northumberland – be prepared

The Department of Health and Social Care advises everyone who is offered the Covid-19 vaccination to take it, as the best way of avoiding potential serious illness from the virus and helping to ease the current situation in the UK.

As Covid-19 vaccinations in Northumberland are rolled out for high priority groups, here are some ways you can be prepared ahead of your turn.


Contact Details

Make sure you are registered with a GP practice and that they have an up-to-date contact number for you or someone who they can speak to on your behalf – the first people to be called for the vaccine will be contacted by telephone, sometimes at short notice – as new batches of the vaccine arrive in Northumberland.

You won’t be forgotten

GP practices in Northumberland will be inviting people for their vaccination in strict order of age within each priority group. Your GP knows which priority group you are in and will not forget about you. Please be patient and wait to be contacted about your vaccination rather than call your surgery.

Listen out for the phone

In the first wave people will probably be contacted by telephone or text, so listen out for a call, and remember that the GP surgery’s number may be withheld when they call you. Check your answerphone regularly for messages, if you have one. Keep an eye on the post too in case you receive a letter inviting you for a vaccination at the North East hub at The Centre for Life, Newcastle.

Travel arrangements

Vaccines are being given at designated vaccination centres across the county. Make plans now for how you will get to the centre when you are asked to attend, including plans for travel at different times of the day. Please note that the vaccination centre you are asked to attend may not be the one closest to your home.

Be on time

It’s really important that you arrive on time for your vaccination appointment to keep waiting times to a minimum. However, don’t arrive too early if you can help it as you won’t be seen earlier than your appointment time. If you have your NHS number, please bring it with you. This can be found on letters sent to you by your GP or by a hospital, or on your prescription.

Booster Vaccinations

The government has asked GP practices to concentrate on giving as many patients as possible the first Covid-19 vaccination, as this approach will prevent more deaths and hospitalisations than vaccinating fewer people with two doses. Everyone will get their second vaccination but it will just take a little bit longer.

Your GP is there for you

GP surgeries are still open for business alongside the vaccination programme. If you are worried about a symptom or have an urgent issue, please don’t put off contacting your surgery for help and advice.

As the situation changes we will update this information so you know how best to prepare for your vaccination. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates on Covid-19 vaccinations in Northumberland.


Watch Hilary Brown from Well Close Medical Group talk about how to be prepared for your Covid-19 vaccination:


Vaccination Centres in Northumberland are currently in Berwick, Alnwick, Amble, Ashington, Blyth, Cramlington, Ponteland and Hexham.


Priorities groups:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
  • All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • All those 75 years of age and over
  • All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)

If you have any questions, or would like to share your experiences, please get in touch.

More details on the vaccination programme from the NHS

Why do I have to wait for my Covid-19 vaccine? From the UK government