Aug 15, 2022 - News

D.C. expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility

Photo by Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images.

D.C. announced on August 12 that it is expanding eligibility for monkeypox vaccine doses to include anyone who has had multiple sexual partners during the past two weeks.

Details: The expanded eligibility also includes some non-D.C. residents, such as people who work in D.C., local college students, and anyone who has received care from health services in D.C.

  • D.C. is still offering only first doses of the monkeypox vaccine, postponing second doses for most people to combat short supply. DC Health did not respond to Axios' inquiries about when second doses will resume.

Context: The move comes after federal officials, in an effort to expand the limited vaccine supply, granted emergency use authorization for the monkeypox vaccine, Jynneos to be administered between, rather than beneath, the layers of skin.

  • This method uses one-fifth of a vaccine dose, meaning more people can get the shots.
  • DC Health told the Washington Post that this method could begin the week of August 22, once providers are trained and new syringes are ordered.

Worth noting: Splitting doses and administering them between the layers of the skin, which has been done in the past to combat supply shortages, have “been shown to generate strong immune responses,” per STAT News.

  • Federal officials are planning a study on the effectiveness of one-fifth doses as well as single doses versus the full two-course regimen.

By the numbers: D.C. has received just over 21,700 vaccine doses and administered more than 15,600 of them.

  • A demographic breakdown of 319 of D.C.'s cases shows that almost 99% are among men.
  • Just over half of cases are among white residents and over a third are among Black residents.

Register for a monkeypox vaccine appointment if you fall into the following categories:

  • All people of any sexual orientation or gender who have had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks, including those currently considered at highest risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender men, and transgender women; or
  • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender); or
  • Staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs).
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