Monkeypox vaccine sign
Source: Getty Images

States Expand Access to Monkeypox Vaccines — Who’s Eligible Amid Short Supply?

Jennifer Farrington - Author
By

Aug. 5 2022, Published 11:31 a.m. ET

On August 4, 2022, the Biden administration officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The first U.S. case of the rare virus was reported in Massachusetts in mid-May 2022, though the case count has quickly jumped to 7,102 as of August 5, 2022. Many are now questioning whether they should get a monkeypox vaccine and if they are even eligible to do so.

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Read to find out more about where the monkeypox vaccine is being offered and who's first in line to receive it.

Most states are only providing the monkeypox vaccine to certain populations amid supply shortage.

Monkeypox vaccine
Source: Getty Images

Although each state is handling the monkeypox outbreak differently, most are making the vaccine available to certain individuals since the vaccine is in short supply. Because monkeypox isn’t a common virus in the U.S., healthcare providers don’t have a large supply on hand.

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For example, the Rhode Island Department of Health says the monkeypox vaccine is generally only being administered to those who meet the following criteria:

  • You have come in close contact with an individual who has a confirmed case of monkeypox.
  • You are a Rhode Island resident who is 18 years of age or older and has “had multiple sex partners or at least one anonymous sex partner during the past 30 days” and is “any gay, bi, queer, or other man who has sex with men” or “any transgender, non-binary, or gender diverse individual who has sex with any men who have sex with men.”

Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, Fla., the Florida Department of Health says anyone who is considered at high risk for infection qualifies to receive a monkeypox vaccine. This includes:

  • Laboratory personnel
  • Select healthcare personnel who are considered high at risk of contracting monkeypox
  • Those who have come in close contact with someone who is infected with monkeypox
  • Immunocompromised MSM (men who have sex with men) with HIV
  • MSM who have “a recent history of a sexually transmissible disease (STD)”
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New York currently has the highest monkeypox case count.

According to CDC data, New York currently has the highest monkeypox case count (as of August 5, 2022). The state has taken measures to provide the monkeypox vaccine to those who meet current eligibility criteria, which is subject to change based on how the outbreak evolves.

If you meet all of the following conditions, you may be eligible to receive a monkeypox vaccine in New York City:

  • You identify as “gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary”
  • You are 18 years of age or older
  • You had “multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days”
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New York City is also encouraging those who have come in close contact with someone with monkeypox to get vaccinated.

To find out if you’re eligible to receive a monkeypox vaccine, visit your state’s health department website as it should outline this and much more.

Monkeypox can spread in multiple ways.

Monkeypox generally spreads through close, intimate contact with another person who is infected. It can also be spread if you come in direct contact with someone who has monkeypox or if you touch an object or fabric such as a bedsheet that was used by someone who has contracted the virus.

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