Jul 22, 2022 - News

Colorado begins to ration monkeypox vaccine

Illustration of a syringe suspended and held up by red tape. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Monkeypox remains rare in Colorado, but confirmed cases are increasing exponentially during a precarious moment.

What's happening: Colorado public health officials are now rationing doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine because the federal supply is "extremely limited."

  • The new state policy announced Thursday prioritizes first doses for at-risk people and delays the second shot beyond the typical four-week interval.
  • "Given the current outbreak, our goal at this time is to reduce the spread of monkeypox among persons at risk, and to that end, we will use all our doses on hand to vaccinate as many eligible people as we are able," the state's chief medical officer Eric France said in a statement.

By the numbers: The number of monkeypox cases reached 29 in July — a fivefold increase over the prior month — according to state data.

  • In June the state counted six cases. The first two were reported in May.

Threat level: Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and typically resolves itself after presenting flu-like symptoms and a rash or skin bumps one to three days after a fever.

  • The first vaccine dose offers early protection. If given shortly after exposure, it can prevent sickness or lessen the severity of the disease.
  • More than 1,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Colorado so far.

Be smart: Anyone can get monkeypox through close contact with someone who has the virus, officials say.

What's next: Colorado anticipates receiving more vaccines in August, and plans to open additional appointments.


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