In the United States, there are two vaccines that may be used to protect against monkeypox, JYNNEOS and ACAM2000. Both vaccines that may be used for the monkeypox virus are based off of the smallpox vaccine as the two viruses are closely related.
Those who should consider getting vaccinated include individuals that have been identified to be in close contact with someone with monkeypox or those that learn of one of their sex partners in the past two weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox. The vaccine should also be considered for men who have sex with other men or transgender or gender-diverse people who have had sex with men in the past 2 weeks. Especially if an individual has had sex with multiple partners or group sex, sex at a commercial sex venue, or had sex at an event, venue, or in an area where monkeypox transmission is occurring.
It is important to note that getting vaccinated as soon as possible after exposure to someone with monkeypox (within 4 days) to help reduce the symptoms or make the symptoms less severe. The vaccines against monkeypox are not currently encouraged for the general public, just those at an increased risk. If you need help on deciding if the vaccination is right for you, please contact your health care provider or contact your local health department. In some large cities, the monkeypox vaccines may be available at the health department, public health clinics, or hospitals. The U.S. government is currently working to expand vaccine access.
If you are unable or ineligible for the monkeypox vaccines, then prevention of the disease is the best course of action. Preventative measures include avoiding close skin to skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox, avoiding contact with objects and materials that people with monkeypox have used, and washing your hands often and for the appropriate amount of time.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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