The monkeypox vaccine will now be offered to more people in Virginia.
On Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health announced that they are expanding eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine, JYNNEOS, to align with CDC criteria.
According to the VDH, monkeypox is a contagious rash illness caused by the monkeypox virus, which spreads through close contact with an infected person.
The risk to the public is currently low, VDH said, and that anyone can get monkeypox by having close contact with an infected person, which includes touching skin lesions, bodily fluids, or clothing or linens that have been in contact with an infected person, or having prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person.
VDH said that the highest risk activity is having sexual relations with anonymous or multiple partners and that avoiding those activities can greatly reduce the risk of catching or spreading monkeypox.
As of Thursday, VDH reported 295 cases of monkeypox in Virginia, with 183 of those being in the Northern Health Region.
VDH said the expanded criteria for the vaccine include Virginia residents who meet at least one of the following:
- People who have had anonymous or multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks,
- Sex workers,
- Staff at establishments where sexual activity occurs.
The JYNNEOS vaccine is a 2-dose vaccine, and Virginia has received a limited supply, VDH said.
If you’re eligible and wish to get the vaccine or learn more, VDH said you can visit your local health district website, and if you’re unsure of which health district you’re in, you can find a health department near you here.
If you want to learn more about monkeypox, including how it spreads, symptoms, preventative measures, and more, you can visit the VDH website.