Ottawa Public Health is holding its first monkeypox vaccine clinic today, part of the health unit’s growing efforts to combat the spread of the virus.

The clinic comes just over a week after the city’s first confirmed case of monkeypox, which came on June 10. That person has since recovered and their close contacts have been vaccinated. There are three other suspected cases in Ottawa.

Over the weekend, OPH administered some of the roughly 100 shots it received from the province to higher-risk residents, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches told the city’s board of health Monday night.

Etches said the risk to the general public remains “very low.”

Quebec health authorities confirmed another 30 new cases of monkeypox on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 171. There are 21 confirmed cases in Ontario and six in other provinces, according to Public Health Agency of Canada data.

The OPH clinic tonight starts at 5:30 p.m. at Club Ottawa Baths on Wellington Street West. It’s due to last until 8:30 p.m. or until supplies last. Any community member who meets Ottawa Public Health's eligibility requirements is welcome and a health card is not required.

On Thursday, the AIDS Committee of Ottawa is holding a monkeypox information session at 6 p.m. with an infectious disease expert.

Most monkeypox cases have been found in men who have sex with men. Last week, Montreal officials expanded the city's vaccination campaign to all men who have sex with men, and in Toronto, authorities started holding clinics to immunize high-risk individuals.

The rare disease comes from the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980.

Smallpox vaccines have proven effective in combating the monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox generally does not spread easily between people and is transmitted through prolonged close contact via respiratory droplets, direct contact with skin lesions or bodily fluids, or through contaminated clothes or bedding.

Symptoms can include a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.

- With files from the Canadian Press


An earlier version of this story said Ottawa Public Health had administered 100 monkeypox vaccine doses over the weekend. In fact, Ottawa Public Health received 100 doses of the vaccine from the province, and has begun to administer some of them.