Sep 22, 2022 - News

Colorado increases monkeypox vaccine eligibility as supply increases

Monthly reported monkeypox cases in Colorado
Data: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

The monkeypox vaccine shortage is starting to ease, allowing Colorado to expand eligibility for the free shot.

What to know: The initial criteria issued by state health officials prioritized high-risk individuals and men who have sex with men and rationed the vaccine to just one dose of the two needed.

  • Under new guidance released this week, most anyone who considers themself at-risk is eligible.
  • Those now able to get the shot include: Anyone in close contact with someone who had monkeypox in the last 14 days; anyone with multiple or anonymous sexual partners; and anyone living with HIV.

Of note: The monkeypox vaccine also is now available at state-run mobile clinics.

What they're saying: "This eligibility expansion allows Coloradans to proactively protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated before potential exposures, rather than only after a known exposure," Rachel Herlihy, the state's epidemiologist, said in a statement.

By the numbers: Colorado has counted about 300 cases of monkeypox, a third of which are in Denver, and issued 15,000 vaccine doses.

Between the lines: The shot is now administered in the outer layers of the skin, a method that increases the doses in each vial five-fold, Colorado public health officials tell Axios Denver.

  • The state has received about 19,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine from the federal government and expects to be able to order more in a few weeks.

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