MSDH announces Monkeypox vaccines available for those who qualify

Published 4:24 pm Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) announced Thursday the expanded eligibility for monkeypox vaccine to reduce the spread of monkeypox in Mississippi.

Mississippians with certain risk factors and experiences that make them more likely to have been exposed to monkeypox can now be considered for vaccination.

The vaccine is available by appointment only at county health department clinics in each of the following counties: Lee, Panola, Leflore, Lowndes, Lauderdale, Adams, Hinds, Forrest and Harrison.

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As of Thursday, 11 cases of monkeypox have been identified among Mississippi residents. The number of cases is expected to continue to increase. Nationwide, more than 10,000 cases have been identified. 

In the United States, most cases have been among individuals who report male-to-male sexual contact.

“While anyone who is exposed to monkeypox through close person-to-person or intimate contact may become infected, most of the cases being seen in this outbreak are among individuals who are gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

Very few doses of the monkeypox vaccine have been received in Mississippi. The two-dose vaccine is now being made available to those at highest risk for potential exposure to monkeypox, in addition to vaccination of those with known contact with cases identified through MSDH investigations.

Individuals 18 years or older may be eligible for vaccination if they: 

  • Have been notified or are aware of close intimate or sexual contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, OR 
  • Identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or other men who have sex with men, who report
    • Having had multiple or anonymous sex partners, OR
    • Having attended an event or venue where monkeypox may have been transmitted (for example, by skin-to-skin contact or sex on-site).

Vaccination appointments are available to those who meet the above criteria. These criteria will be reevaluated to expand eligibility as more vaccines are available in the coming weeks. 

Please call the Monkeypox Call Center at 1-877-978-6453 to determine your eligibility and make a vaccination appointment at one of the participating health department clinics. Appointments can only be made through the call center.

If you are at risk for monkeypox, you can help prevent infection by avoiding close skin-to-skin or intimate contact with people who may be infected, and you should be vaccinated if you are eligible. If you develop a new or unexplained rash, especially if you have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox, isolate yourself at home and contact your healthcare provider for testing.

For more information on monkeypox, visit HealthyMS.com/monkeypox.    

Follow MSDH by email and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.