Mass.  steps up monkeypox vaccination effortsEnglish 

Mass. steps up monkeypox vaccination efforts

Health

The vaccine is now being administered at four designated health facilities in the state.

The Associated Press

Massachusetts now offers vaccines to protect against monkeypox, stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • ‘This is not a gay disease’: Experts try to curb misinformation about monkeypox

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has distributed a limited amount of the vaccine, known as JYNNEOS, to 10 states, including the Bay State. According to the state Department of Public Health, Massachusetts received an initial allocation of 2,004 doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, with more expected to become available in the coming weeks.

Initial doses are offered by appointment only at four health care providers in Eastern Massachusetts: Fenway Health (Boston), Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Health Clinic (Boston), Boston Medical Center Infectious Diseases Clinic (Boston), and Outer Cape Cod Health Services ( Provincetown).

The state said because of limited doses, the vaccine will be available for now only to those who live or work in Massachusetts and are at the highest risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox. This includes those who have been in close contact with someone infected with the virus and those who have had multiple sexual partners in recent weeks in an area where the infection is known to be spreading.

“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will expand eligibility if and when more doses are received from the CDC,” the department said.

The JYNNEOS vaccine consists of two injections, given 28 days apart for “maximum effectiveness,” according to the state. The vaccine can be administered before or soon after exposure to the disease, and you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second injection.

“People who get vaccinated should continue to protect themselves from infection by avoiding close skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who has monkeypox,” the state said.

According to the CDC, as of Thursday morning there were 605 cases of monkeypox nationwide — 29 in Massachusetts. There have been no deaths linked to the outbreak in the United States or globally, and those infected usually recover in two to four weeks.

The first cases in Massachusetts and other parts of the country were linked to international travel, but recent cases were not, according to the state. Officials continue to remind the public that while men who have sex with men make up a “large proportion” of the cases identified so far, the risks are not limited to the LGBTQ community as anyone who has been in close contact with an infected individual is at risk.

“Although the virus does not spread easily between people, people can spread the infection once they develop symptoms,” the state said.

Public health experts and activists are working to combat misinformation about the disease, stressing that sexual orientation does not change a person’s susceptibility to monkeypox.

The disease can be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, sores from monkeypox or touching objects that have been contaminated, according to the Department of Public Health. Less commonly, it can be spread by respiratory droplets after “prolonged face-to-face contact”. But it does not spread in cases such as touching surfaces such as doorknobs, casual conversation or walking an infected person.

“In many recent cases, the sites of rash lesions suggest transmission during sexual contact,” the state said.

Early symptoms of monkeypox include rash, fever, headache, sore throat, cough and swollen lymph nodes. Rashes from the disease develop into lesions that start flat but rise and fill with fluid.

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