Limited, targeted monkeypox vaccines available

Via the Wyoming News Exchange

POWELL (WNE)  — Vaccines meant to help prevent monkeypox are now available on a limited, targeted basis across the state, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH). 

Public health experts are tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report the disease, including the United States. 

No cases related to this outbreak have yet been identified among Wyoming residents. 

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. 

“This disease is usually characterized by a rash and can also involve other symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness,” she said. 

Harrist noted monkeypox is rarely fatal but can be unpleasant and painful and can cause serious illness in some people. 

“Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal contact,” she said. “Fortunately, it does not spread nearly as easily as do familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19.” 

“We’re recommending vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and also for people who may be more likely to get monkeypox based on the current outbreak and how it has been spreading,” Harrist said. “While anyone can get monkeypox, vaccine eligibility is limited at this point to those people who are at highest risk due to limited supplies.” 

Vaccinations will begin the week of Aug. 15. 

Eligible adults interested in vaccination appointments should contact the public health office in their area. 

While available monkeypox vaccine doses are being provided by the federal government through the state at no charge, a small administration fee may be charged. 

Monkeypox is related to smallpox with similar but milder symptoms. It is not related to chickenpox.


This story was published on August 11, 2022.


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