The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has begun receiving limited doses of the monkeypox vaccine, according to a press release by the organization.
The JYNNEOS vaccine is a two-dose vaccine series with 28 days in between doses, and so far Georgia has received approximately 3,000 doses, or enough for 1,500 individuals. The vaccine has been distributed upon request to health departments and for vaccination events in two counties.
As of Monday afternoon at the time of the release, the DPH had confirmed a total of 93 monkeypox cases in Georgia, all among men living in metro Atlanta, and the majority of whom identify as men who have sex with men, the release said. As of the time of the release, there have not been any reports of monkeypox cases in District 2, which includes Dawson County.
Because of the areas that have reported cases of monkeypox, the DPH is prioritizing vaccine distribution in five metro counties: Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton. There is non residency requirement to receive a vaccine, but individuals must register for an appointment and meet certain eligibility requirements in order to receive the vaccine.
“Because demand outweighs supply, DPH is following the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and prioritizing monkeypox vaccine for individuals at high risk of infection,” the release said. “Vaccination may be recommended for people who are close personal contacts of people with monkeypox, individuals who may have been exposed to monkeypox, or people who have increased risk of being exposed to the virus such as lab workers.”
Individuals who fall into one of those groups are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider about the vaccine, the release said. People with monkeypox in the current outbreak are generally reporting having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox, so the DPH is encouraging everyone, regardless of their risk factors, to take steps to protect themselves against it.
“While many of those affected in the current global outbreaks are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness,” the release said. “While monkeypox does not spread like COVID-19, everyone should take steps to protect themselves from monkeypox.”
In order to protect against monkeypox, the DPH is encouraging people to:
Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have close personal contact with someone with monkeypox.
Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The DPH is working to create online scheduling for the monkeypox vaccine and will update the public when the scheduling system is ready, the release said. Until then, individuals who may have had contact with monkeypox or are at high risk of exposure to it should contact their healthcare provider.
For more information about monkeypox, go to https://dph.georgia.gov/epidemiology/acute-diseaseepidemiology/monkeypox or https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.