DHEC expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility, more doses available

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is going to use a new method to give monkeypox (MPX) vaccinations.

According to SCDHEC, this change will increase the number of doses available, and the criteria for those eligible to get vaccinated is expanding.

DHEC says both changes will take effect immediately.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Prevention have authorized the new strategy, which calls for shots to be given just under the first layer of skin, intradermally.

Shots previously have been given subcutaneously, when the shot goes into the fat layer farther below the skin.

The CDC says administering the JYNNEOS vaccine with an intradermal method can result in up to five times the number of doses per vial with the same level of protection, which means more people can receive the vaccine with a limited national supply.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell says it is important to find ways to meet the needs of those at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox.

“That not only includes adopting the new method of delivery identified by the CDC, but it also includes expanding the criteria to allow more people to be eligible. As vaccine availability increases, we will continue to review criteria to get more people protected from this disease,” Dr. Bell said.

Bell says cases are slowly beginning to increase, and encourages people at risk to be vaccinated.

South Carolina has expanded its eligibility list to include:

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM), including gay or bisexual men, transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, who have had either a sexually transmitted infection in the last 90 days or multiple sex partners in the last 90 days
  • Any person receiving HIV PrEP treatment

The vaccine is not recommended for the general public or healthcare workers at this time. Residents can call the DHEC CareLine (855) 472-3432 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to find out if they are eligible to schedule an appointment.

If you are concerned that you have been exposed to someone with monkeypox infection or have a new, unusual rash, please seek medical attention from your usual healthcare provider, visit an urgent care center, or call your local health department.

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