Prevention

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 adults at high risk of exposure.

If you think you have been exposed to monkeypox or if you show symptoms (such as a rash), self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider and your local health department. 

VDH is working to provide vaccine access to Virginians who have been exposed or are at high risk of being exposed to monkeypox.  

Individuals who are known to be exposed to monkeypox or are at high risk for being exposed are being contacted by their local health department through case investigations. Currently, local health departments are working through existing networks to identify those who are eligible for the vaccine to offer vaccine appointments to ensure prompt distribution of the vaccine to the most vulnerable in Virginia.

More information about accessing the vaccine will be available on this website as more supply becomes available.

For Those with Known Exposure

In Virginia, a two-dose series of a monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS) is recommended and available for adults (18 years of age or older) who 

  • Have been exposed to a person diagnosed with monkeypox during their infection.
  • Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days 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 adults (18 years of age or older) who identify with any of the following groups in the last 14 days

  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners; OR
  • Transgender women and non-binary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners; OR
  • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender); OR
  • Staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (such as bathhouses, sex clubs); OR
  • Persons (of any sexual orientation or gender) who attend sex-on-premises venues (such as bathhouses, sex clubs)

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. Maximum immunity occurs 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. 

Last updated: July 28, 2022

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