Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility, Availability Expanded

Source: NJ Dept. Health

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Health (NJDOH) commissioner Judith Persichilli have expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine was previously available to residents with known exposure to a monkeypox case. Going forward, the JYNNEOS vaccine will also be available to New Jerseyans who are at high risk of having been exposed to the virus in the past 14 days.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus – part of the orthopox family of viruses – that can affect anyone. The virus can cause flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.

Monkeypox does not spread easily to people without close contact. Although many of the current cases have been found in individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men, monkeypox can spread from direct contact with any infected individual to any other individual orby touching clothing, bedding, towels or surfaces that have been exposed to someone with the virus.

There are currently 109 probable and confirmed cases of the virus in New Jersey.

Anyone with a known exposure within the past 14 days should contact their health care provider or local health department regarding testing and vaccine eligibility. Local health departments will continue to conduct contact tracing and offer the vaccine to anyone identified as a close contact.

In addition to those who have had known exposure to someone with monkeypox, the vaccine is now available to individuals who: ave attended an event where known monkeypox exposure occurred; identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men (MSM), and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary; or who have a history of multiple or anonymous sex partners within the past 14 days.

According to the CDC, there are several steps that can be taken to prevent getting monkeypox:

· Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
· Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
· Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
· Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
· Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Persons who have a condition that may that weaken the immune system, or a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema, should be a high priority for vaccination if they have an exposure risk. For these residents, information on vaccine appointments through the expanded PEP program is available through these community partners:

Hyacinth AIDS Foundation/Project Living Out Loud!, Jersey City:
The Prevention Resource Network, Asbury Park:
North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), Newark
973-483-3444, ext. 200
Cooper University Hospital, Camden
856-968-7100 or register online.
Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Paramus
Online appointments only.

If you are sick with monkeypox: contact your health care provider, isolate at home, and try to stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with (especially if you have an active rash).

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