You can now get the monkeypox vaccine in NJ, even without known exposure
TRENTON – Expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine and a distribution plan for about 2,700 available doses has been announced by Gov. Phil Murphy and state Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
The vaccine was previously available to residents with known exposure to a monkeypox case, as the number of reported cases was around 30 on Friday.
With 45 probable or confirmed cases as of Tuesday, the Jynneos vaccine is now also available to New Jerseyans considered at high risk of being exposed to the virus.
Who can get the monkeypox vaccine in NJ?
In addition to anyone who had known exposure to someone with monkeypox, the vaccine is now available to the following groups of the population:
— Individuals that attended an event where known monkeypox exposure happened.
— Individuals that identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men (MSM), and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary and who have a history of multiple or anonymous sex partners within the past 14 days.
— Anyone with a pre-existing condition that might increase their risk for severe disease if infected with monkeypox virus, such as a compromised immune system or a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema, should also be a high priority for vaccination under such exposure risks, state officials also said.
Monkeypox continues to be a rare disease that can affect anyone. It is caused by a virus that is part of the orthopox family of viruses.
Although many of the current cases have been found in individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men, monkeypox can spread from direct contact with any infected individual to any other individual.
Where can you get the monkeypox vaccine in NJ?
Three community partners to help administer those doses were in Jersey City, Newark and Asbury Park.
— Hyacinth AIDS Foundation/Project Living Out Loud! in Jersey City
— The Prevention Resource Network, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey in Asbury Park
— North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) in Newark
Phone: 973-483-3444, ext. 200
Anyone with a known exposure within the past two weeks should still contact their health care provider or local health department first regarding testing and vaccine eligibility.
For residents with known exposure to a monkeypox patient, the two-dose regimen for what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) continued to be available through their local health department.
The state Department of Health has an online map tool by which users can type their address and find their local health department with contact information, including after-hours emergency number.
Camden County and Hudson County previously were designated as regional monkeypox vaccine storage hubs to help coordinate doses for such locally-handled cases.
“New Jersey has been given a very limited number of doses at this time and the Department continues to press the CDC on timely delivery of additional necessary doses to meet the needs of our at-risk populations,” Persichilli said in a written statement.
“At the same time, residents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of the orthopoxvirus and take precautions to prevent the spread,” she continued.
Symptoms and spread of monkeypox
The virus can cause flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and a distinct rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body, with lesions that develop and scab over during the course of infection.
Monkeypox does not spread easily to people without close, often skin-to-skin, contact.
It can also be spread by touching clothing, bedding, towels or surfaces that have been exposed to someone with the virus.
People who think they may have been exposed to monkeypox or who have symptoms of monkeypox should consult with a health care provider immediately — while isolating at home when possible.
The state also shared CDC prevention tips:
— Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
— Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
— Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
— Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
— Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
— Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.