Health

Monkeypox Vaccine, Information and Resources

Expanded Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility

As of August 29, 2022, the monkeypox vaccine eligibility has expanded to the following:

  • Gay, bisexual, other men who have sex with men or transgender people and their partners
  • People living with HIV
  • People who report being at a venue in which a suspected, probable, or confirmed case of monkeypox was identified
  • People who report having close contact with someone suspected, probable, or confirmed having monkeypox

To sign up for a monkeypox vaccine, please visit www.immunizepolk.com

 

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Monkeypox Vaccine

The state has made a limited amount of monkeypox vaccine available to eligible individuals in Polk County. Vaccine is only available for individuals who make an appointment on our website. The health department only creates appointments if there is enough vaccine available. If there are no appointments available, we no longer have vaccine. Eligible individuals for the monkeypox vaccine include:
Gay, bisexual, other men who have sex with men (MSM), or transgender individuals who are at least 18 years of age, at increased likelihood of exposure and are included in one of the following categories:

  • New or multiple sex partners within the last 30 days
  • Close contact with others at a venue or event in the last 30 days where a suspected, probable, or confirmed case of monkeypox was identified
  • Close contact with someone suspected, probable, or confirmed as having monkeypox

To sign up for a monkeypox vaccine, please visit www.immunizepolk.com

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Why are gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM) identified as at risk for monkeypox at this time?

The risk of monkeypox is not limited to people who are sexually active (straight or gay) or self-identify as MSM. Monkeypox is primarily spread through prolonged, close skin-to-skin contact. Intimate contact is one way this virus can easily spread to others.

When public health professionals investigate an emerging illness such as the monkeypox virus, they often look at who is being impacted and the severity of illness. From there, public health professionals determine the best course of action to control the spread of a virus and to prevent further community transmission. In the case of monkeypox, the first cases were identified among MSM in non-endemic countries. Once public health professionals identify a group or a geographic area where a virus is spreading, we first concentrate our prevention and control efforts where we are finding the virus. This is especially true when we have vaccine as a prevention and control strategy and that vaccine is in limited supply. This is why we are starting our vaccination efforts for monkeypox with the MSM community.

This is an on-going and very fluid situation. It is very possible we may identify cases among other groups of individuals and/or in the broader community. Vaccine eligibility will shift based on transmission of the virus and severity of illness.  

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Monkeypox is a viral infection that can spread through skin-to-skin contact, body fluids, monkeypox sores or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox. The virus can also be spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. Although monkeypox is not generally considered a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be transmitted during intimate contact and sex by skin-to-skin and other intimate contact, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

People with monkeypox sometimes develop a flu-like illness with fever, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes followed by a rash. In other instances, people just develop a rash with or without swollen lymph nodes, which can occur on the genitals and/or around the anus. People usually develop monkeypox 7 to 14 days (and up to 21 days) after being exposed.

The Health Department encourages the following individuals to call and seek guidance from their medical provider:

  • Recently traveled to an area where monkeypox cases have been reported and you have symptoms of monkeypox especially if you have a rash or lesions. You can find a list of the countries where monkeypox has been reported on the CDC website
  • People who have symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the characteristic rash or lesions
  • Contact with a confirmed or suspected monkeypox case

Reduce your risk of getting or spreading monkeypox by:

  • Avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact including kissing with people who have a rash, sores or confirmed monkeypox.
  • Do not handle, touch or shake bedding, towels or clothing of a person with rash, sores or confirmed monkeypox.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups of a person with monkeypox.
  • Washing your hands often.
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces and objects.

Resources:

Monkeypox fact sheet

Monkeypox Prevention & Risk Reduction for Vaccinated People handout

CDC information: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html

Iowa Department of Public Health information: https://idph.iowa.gov/ehi/monkeypox

National case count:https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us-map.html

Iowa case count: https://idph.iowa.gov/ehi/monkeypox

 


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