Prevention and Vaccine

Anyone can potentially get and spread monkeypox, but the risk to the general public is considered low at this time. The best preventive measure is to avoid having sex with multiple or anonymous partners, which is the highest-risk activity at present.

General Prevention Tips

  • If you have symptoms of monkeypox, such as a new rash, stay home and call your healthcare provider.
  • Do not touch another person’s rash or scabs.
  • Do not share eating utensils, cups, clothing, bedding, towels, or personal grooming devices.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after contact with infected people or animals.
  • Wear a mask in situations where you may have lengthy or close face-to-face contact with people who may be infected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about prevention for people who are sexually active.

Vaccination

General Information

At present, the monkeypox vaccine is only recommended for individuals who have been exposed or are at high risk of exposure to the monkeypox virus. If either of these situations applies to you, contact your local health department to see if you are eligible for vaccination.

VDH is working to provide vaccines to Virginians based on the eligibility criteria below.

Individuals who may have been exposed to monkeypox virus are being contacted by their local health department through case investigations. Currently, local health departments are working through existing networks to identify those who may be eligible to offer appointments to ensure prompt distribution of the vaccine to the most vulnerable in Virginia.

Eligibility Criteria for Vaccination

VDH recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox.

For Those with Known Exposure

In Virginia, a two-dose series of a monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS) is recommended and available for individuals who

  • Have been exposed to a person diagnosed with monkeypox during their infection
  • Know that a sexual partner in the past 2 weeks was diagnosed with monkeypox

For Those at High Risk of Exposure

In Virginia, a two-dose series of a monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS) is recommended and available for individuals who identify with any of the following groups:

  • People, of any sexual orientation or gender, who have had anonymous or multiple (more than one) sexual partners in the past two weeks; or
  • Sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender; or
  • Staff, of any sexual orientation or gender, at establishments where sexual activity occurs; or.
  • People, of any sexual orientation or gender, who are living with HIV/AIDS; or
  • People, of any sexual orientation or gender, who have been diagnosed with any sexually transmitted infection in the past three months.

After the Vaccine

You should still continue to take precautions after vaccination.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is given in two-doses with 28 days between doses. You are considered protected 14 days after your second dose (about 6 weeks after your first dose). You should continue to take precautions against monkeypox between doses. 

We don’t know if JYNNEOS will fully protect against monkeypox virus infection in this outbreak, so infections may occur even if you are vaccinated. If you want to reduce your risk, keep taking preventative measures after being vaccinated. 

For more information about monkeypox vaccines and other prevention measures, please visit the CDC Prevention website.

Last updated: September 26, 2022

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