RALEIGH — The federal government has allocated North Carolina 444 doses of Jynneos, a vaccine that can prevent illness or lead to less severe symptoms if given within two weeks after someone is exposed to monkeypox. Those doses have been allocated to seven local health departments to ensure access across the state. As additional doses become available, more locations will be added.
The local health departments first receiving doses are Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pitt and Wake.
Because of limited supply, vaccination is currently only being offered to individuals with known or suspected exposure to monkeypox. This includes:
- People who have been in close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox; and
- Men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days in either a venue where monkeypox was present or in an area where the virus is spreading. Currently, this includes several locations in Europe and parts of California, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Texas. Updated global and U.S. case numbers are posted on the CDC site.
Individuals who meet these criteria can call their local health department to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, or they can call one of the seven local health departments that have already received vaccines as part of the phase 1 allocation of Jynneos vaccine:
- Buncombe (828) 250-5300
- Durham (919) 560-9217
- Forsyth (336) 703-3100
- Mecklenburg (980) 314-9400
- New Hanover (910) 798-6800
- Pitt (252) 902-2300
- Wake (919) 250-4462
Monkeypox vaccines are free and are based on availability of vaccine, which is in limited quantities currently.
“This is a good first step, but more vaccine is needed,” said Dr. Zack Moore, state epidemiologist. “We are working with local health departments and other partners to ensure equitable access to those at risk as more doses become available over the coming months.”
Monkeypox is transmitted person to person through direct skin-to-skin contact, having contact with an infectious rash, through body fluids or through respiratory secretions. Such contact often occurs during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex.
Anyone can get monkeypox, but many of the cases identified in the current outbreak have been in men who have sex with men. Cases have been able to be identified in part thanks to the vigilance of those who sought testing when concerns arose leading to the recognition that monkeypox was spreading in the U.S.
People can take basic steps to prevent the spread of monkeypox. If you have an unexplained rash, sores or other symptoms, see your health care provider — if you don’t have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you. Keep the rash covered and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out by a health care provider. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks, though severe cases can occur. Standard household cleaners and detergents are effective at cleaning environmental surfaces and linens.
More information can be found on the CDC website.