Virginia Department of Health Expands Eligibility Criteria for Those Seeking Monkeypox Vaccination in the Commonwealth

Logan Anderson, VDH PIO,

Virginia Department of Health Expands Eligibility Criteria for Those Seeking Monkeypox Vaccination in the Commonwealth

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) today announced it is expanding eligibility for JYNNEOS, the monkeypox vaccine, to align with the current vaccination criteria laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Virginia, as of Thursday, Aug. 25, there were 295 cases of monkeypox, 183 of those in the Northern Health Region consisting of the counties of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William.

The expanded criteria for vaccination include Virginia residents who meet one of the following:
●       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.

Virginia has received a limited supply of JYNNEOS vaccine. If you are eligible, visit your local health district website to learn about how you can access the vaccine. You may use this locator tool to determine which local health district you reside in.

As of August 23, VDH had received 15,282 vials of the JYNNEOS vaccine, redistributed 8,899 vials to the state’s 35 health districts and administered 5,875 vials through local health departments and other healthcare providers. JYNNEOS is a 2-dose vaccine. VDH manages the supply to ensure second doses are available.

Monkeypox is a contagious rash illness caused by the monkeypox virus. In most cases it resolves without treatment. It is spread by close contact with an infected person. Close contact includes touching skin lesions, bodily fluids, or clothing or linens that have been in contact with an infected person. Spread can also occur during prolonged, face-to-face contact.

While anyone can catch monkeypox if they have close contact with someone with monekypox, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, many of those affected in the current global outbreak are gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men. While this level of monkeypox activity is unexpected, the risk to the general population is low. People with monkeypox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained contact with other people who have monkeypox.

The highest risk activity currently is having sex with multiple or anonymous partners; avoiding these activities greatly reduces one’s risk of catching or spreading monkeypox. Monkeypox does not spread from person to person from walking past someone who is infected or through casual conversation with someone who is infected.

Initial symptoms of the disease often include flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, followed by skin lesions. However, some people have a rash without other symptoms. Although the majority of cases don’t require hospitalization, it is contagious and can be painful. If you have a rash that resembles monkeypox, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to get tested. Treatment is available for those at risk of severe illness.

For the latest information about monkeypox from VDH, visit our monkeypox information webpage: