Hundreds of Hoosiers received the monkeypox vaccine at clinics hosted by the Indiana Department of Health in recent days.
About 100 people received the monkeypox vaccine at clinics held over the weekend in Tippecanoe County. More than 200 people received the vaccine at the Marion County Clinic on Monday.
As of August 16, there were 84 confirmed cases of monkeypox statewide, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Due to limited supply, the vaccine is currently restricted to those most at risk of contracting the virus, said Melissa McMasters, immunization and infectious disease program administrator for the Marion County Public Health Department.
“We want to make sure that when someone is actually exposed to a case of monkeypox, if we can get that vaccine to them within four days, we can really lessen the symptoms and maybe even eliminate the infection,” he said. said McMasters.
The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed, as well as people who have had a sexual partner in the last two weeks diagnosed with monkeypox, people who have had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in a area with known cases, and people whose jobs may expose them to monkeypox, such as laboratory workers who handle orthopoxviruses.
While the national supply of monkeypox vaccines is limited, the United States Food and Drug Administration recently approved a method to administer a smaller amount of JYNNEOS vaccine, which could increase the number of doses available in a single vial. McMasters said the alternative injection method has indeed increased the amount of vaccines available.
Normally, a single-dose vial would be given to a person subcutaneously, into fatty tissue.
“But now they’ve allowed five doses per vial, and it’s delivered intradermally,” or between layers of skin, McMasters said. “It requires a much smaller amount of vaccine. So we were able to scale up the vaccine and we will continue to be able to scale up the vaccine as the outbreak develops.
Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Greg Loomis said outreach and education to high-risk community groups is important to prevent the spread of infection.
Loomis says he has worked with Lafeytte Pride, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Center at Purdue University, and sex workers to raise awareness of monkeypox and the vaccine.
While the World Health Organization has identified most cases of monkeypox worldwide in men who have sex with men, monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection. It is spread through close skin-to-skin contact, such as touching a lesion or exchanging saliva, or touching objects or surfaces shared with an infected person. Anyone can get it.
“The worst, worst thing you can do in public health is to stigmatize a group,” Loomis said. “It’s essentially the death knell for caring for these people in an effective and respectful way.”
In addition to monkeypox vaccination clinics in Tippecanoe County and Marion County, the Indiana Department of Health also hosted a Friday night clinic in Allen County at the After Dark nightclub in Fort Wayne. State health officials did not immediately respond to questions about the number of vaccine doses administered during this event.
McMasters said more monkeypox vaccination clinics will be scheduled. Click here to pre-register.